One story, two species

 

Our story began two decades ago in South Africa when over 100 Rhinoceroses were found dead. Tourists caught the “perpetrators” on camera. Park biologists were shocked. The killers weren’t human, they were young male African Elephants (bulls). The naturally peaceful Elephant was acting completely out of character.

In 2004, Kerulos founder and Executive Director, Dr. Gay Bradshaw, discovered that the young bulls were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition common to combat veterans and prisoners. While scientists tacitly acknowledge that Animals share with humans the same brain structures and processes that govern thinking, feeling, consciousness, and behavior, the diagnosis of Elephant PTSD was the first time this understanding was openly recognized. The large number of Rhinoceroses killed provided indisputable evidence of Animal psychological trauma caused by human violence.

Kerulos was founded in 2008 in response to widespread scientific and public interest.

In 2009, the story of Elephant breakdown was published in Gay’s Pulitzer Prize nominated Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us About Humanity (Yale, 2009). We extended the Elephant research to other species, which led to the first diagnosis of complex PTSD (C-PTSD) in Chimpanzees and Parrots. This work was seminal in crafting new Animal protection policy.

One mind,
one health

Our research on Elephant PTSD and other species established the new field of trans-species psychology, the science of sentience. Trans-species psychology takes us beyond myths and mistruths about Animals to who lies within. Just like us, Animals grieve, celebrate, love, and dream — and they are vulnerable to psychological trauma.

The Kerulos Learning Institute

In 2010, we established our online education program, the Kerulos Learning Institute (KLI). Our courses, seminars, and mentored internships serve students, professionals, and others around the world. We combine online learning with practical hands-on application in service to Animals where learners volunteer at one of our partner sanctuaries in the U.S. and abroad.

Trauma recovery in sanctuary

In 2014, our work on science of sentience (trans-species psychology) and science of suffering (trauma recovery) was directly applied to Animal rescue with the founding of The Tortoise and the Hare Sanctuary, located in the beautiful mountains of southern Oregon. The sanctuary provides lifetime care for endangered special needs Desert Tortoises and rescued domestic Rabbits and Turkeys. Our sanctuary also provides refuge for native Wildlife.

All Bull Elephants’ Sanctuary (ABES)

In 2015, we were asked to help rescue and bring to sanctuary Billy, a 34-year-old male Asian Elephant held at the Los Angeles Zoo. Billy, who inspired the main character in our children’s book endorsed by Dame Daphne Sheldrick, The Elephant Letters: The Story of Billy and Kani, is one of over 90 male Elephant held captive in North American zoos and circuses.

At the time, because no sanctuary wanted to take Billy upon release, we established the All Bull Elephants’ Sanctuary (ABES) project to make sure that Billy would have a home, and bring attention to the myths surrounding male Elephants who are critically under-served.

Sanctuary isn’t just a place
it’s a vision.