ABC 20/20 Team Wins Prestigious Award for Story on Elephant PTSD Featuring The Elephant Sanctuary

From The Elephant Sanctuary
August 21, 2009

We congratulate the entire team at ABC 20/20 including Elizabeth Vargas, Howie Masters and Kimberly Launier who recently were awarded the Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award for Broadcast at the 2009 National Press Club Awards for the story titled "Elephant Post Traumatic Stress Disorder"

Elizabeth Vargas and her crew provide viewers with an in-depth look at the troubling effects of mankind’s interference with elephants – both in the wild and in captivity. They report on the science behind what many elephant observers have long suspected - that these highly intelligent and sensitive creatures are capable of suffering on a human level. They chronicle cases of violent elephant behavior, provoked by mistreatment and trauma, that are remarkably similar to post-traumatic-stress disorder in humans, while examining why these gentle giants are so often conscripted to lives of confinement, chained as work animals and paraded under circus big tops. This kind of thought provoking reporting has led many to re-examine the treatment of elephants in zoos and circuses across the country. ( )

In 2005, The National Press Club announced the establishment of the annual Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award which honors excellence in reporting about animals. Established by the family of journalist and longtime Press Club member Ann Cottrell Free, who wrote extensively about animals and their welfare, this prize recognizes serious work by journalists that informs and educates the public about threats facing animals.

In 2007 an honorable mention was given in the print category for another story featuring The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee; "An Elephant Crackup" by Charles Siebert, New York Times Sunday Magazine