Water for Elephants in California

National Storage Tank is the West Coast’s largest purveyor of water tanks, and sees the effects of the California drought first hand; “All across California the demand for water used in agriculture and fire protection has increased tenfold, to point where water storage is the only option. But when my Director of Development who is a long time animal rescuer told me the troubles animal sanctuaries and rescues were facing in regards to water I had no idea. We decided we had to do something to help,” Nicole Oblad, National Storage Tank CEO (nationalstoragetank.com).elephant tank

National Storage Tank contacted Jeff Helton, one of their friends and suppliers at Bushman Tanks to see if they couldn’t join forces and do something to help. “Bushman makes poly (plastic) storage tanks from 60 up to 5050 gallons, and when National Storage Tank came to me and asked what we could do to help them I knew right away,” Jeff Helton, National Sales Director, Bushman Tanks (bushmanusa.com).

Kellie Heckman, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries Executive Director describes how they got involved. “National Storage Tank called us and asked us to put the word out to accredited sanctuaries and rescues in northern California that they had water tanks to donate on a semi-regular basis starting with a 5050 Gallon Bushman tank. We let the organizations and rescues know, and in less than 12 hours one of our members in need contacted them.”

“At PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society), we have eight Asian and African Elephants, and they each consume about 150 gallons every day of the year. We are a non-profit organization and operate a 2,300-acre facility that provides lifetime sanctuary for rescued and retired elephants, as well as lions, tigers, bears, and other animals. When GFAS told us someone had a new tank to donate, we were very grateful to add storage capacity to our existing water system for the elephants and other animals,” explains Kim Gardner, Director of Programs at PAWS (pawsweb.org).

Within a week the tank that Bushman had donated was delivered to the PAWS facility in San Andreas, California from Santa Rosa, California some 150 miles away, all with donated time and labor from the National Storage Tank staff. “Typically in the animal welfare world it takes ages for something like this to happen. When business has a heart, and decides to do the right thing like Nicole & Jeff did, amazing things happen and animals in need get help they might have died waiting for,” Gregory Slugocki, Director of Development, National Storage Tank.

Heckman agrees, “The speed at which this all happened was amazing, unheard of really, and it’s incredible what can happen when business and non-profit work together.”

There is now a waiting list for tanks that become available, and this program is a permanent one for Bushman Tanks, National Storage Tank, and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. “It is the easiest thing in the world to help, we already have two different horse rescues asking for tanks, so we are now starting a program where people can donate funds for tanks for rescues who come to us from GFAS. So, if anyone wants to help please contact us,” encourages Oblad.

This was an unprecedented combination of the private sector and animal welfare non-profits coming together to help animals during the drought, animals who had already suffered a great deal in their lives. “Doing the right thing was easy, and Bushman was proud to help animals in need and those that care for them, those people are the real heroes and deserve all the credit,” expresses Helton.

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