Save Elephant Foundation was founded by Saengduean “Lek” Chailert. It is a Thai non-profit dedicated to providing care, rehabilitation and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephants. The flagship project of Save Elephant Foundation is Elephant Nature Park, home to over 100 elephants and it is where Lek can be found most afternoons, spending time with the herd.
In addition, since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, SEF has been helping other elephants throughout Thailand. As a result of the pandemic, tourism has plummeted and many elephant owners have no source of income to feed and care for their elephants. The owners have reached out to SEF for financial assistance, which was graciously provided although the financial burden has been enormous. Since the onset of the pandemic, SEF has helped to feed over 1200 elephants.
In addition to running Elephant Nature Park, overseeing the Saddle Off projects, and providing direct financial assistance to owners for the care of their elephants, Save Elephant Foundation uses community outreach, education, and eco-tourism to help raise awareness about issues facing captive Asian elephants in Thailand. Lek and her SEF staff teach other Thai elephant owners how they can change their business model to conduct elephant tourism in an ethical and successful way, without harm to the elephants.
The international volunteers and visitors to ENP and [other parks] provide a financial benefit to the local Thai communities by creating a demand for a local workforce and generating income. Save Elephant Foundation has been at the forefront of bringing international awareness to the cruelty inflicted on elephants in the name of tourism. One of SEF projects is its Saddle Off program, where elephant owners are taught that there is an ethical way to run their tourism businesses, without using them for rides and entertainmen. Most importantly, elephant owners are taught ways to train elephants that do not involve the use of torturous bullhooks. Instead, tourists pay to walk beside the elephants in the jungle, and observe them being elephants. The elephants are trained by positive reinforcement. The new way is better for both the captive elephants and their owners (mahouts), and is a positive experience for the tourists as well. Save Elephant Foundation also runs The Surin Project and the Surin Home Stay Project, and is a cofounder of Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary.
Global Sanctuary for Elephants (GSE) was started in 2012, after Scott and Kat Blais saw an urgent need to respond to the growing crisis for captive elephants in South America. This crisis began as many South American countries began to ban elephants in circus, leaving the elephants with no place to go. Since then, 5 countries in South America have passed laws banning the use of elephants in performances. Unfortunately, these progressive efforts have had an unforeseen and unintended consequences for the elephants, who are no longer a source of income for their owners. They are left to languish on rural farms or in small zoo enclosures, with little care and increased neglect. Scott and Kat wanted these elephants to have a better life. They set out to make it happen by rescuing elephants from these horrendous conditions and bringing them to sanctuary. The first sanctuary begun by GSE is Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, which is presently home to 6 elephants: Maia, Mara, Rana, Lady, Bambi, and Guillermina. Elephant Sanctuary Brazil sits on 2800 acres of diverse land in the municipality of Chapada dos Guimaraes, Brazil. ESB’s goal is to house both African and Asian elephants of both genders. Interaction between males and females will be allowed only if the disposition of the elephants allow and a safe method of birth control can be implemented.
GSE brought 2 more Asian elephants to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, Pocha and Guilllermina, who were in captivity at the Mendoza Zoo in Argentina. Sadly, Pocha died soon after arriving at GSE, years of captivity had taken a toll on her health. GSE has also begun construction of an African female habitat, and it plans to construct a male Asian elephant habitat as soon as funds are secured. As these habitats are completed, the remaining elephant at Mendoza Zoo and the 2 African elephants at the Buenos Aires Eco-parque will be able to call Elephant Sanctuary Brazil their home. GSE’s goal is also to provide sanctuary to elephants on other continents as well. With over 5000 elephants in captivity worldwide and only 130 in sanctuary, there are many elephants in dire need of assistance. Global Sanctuary for Elephants provides expertise, hands-on assistance and pivotal funding for the development of elephant sanctuaries, domestically and internationally, and supports the global welfare and well-being of elephants. Scott and Kat know that moving elephants to sanctuary can make a profound difference on their health and well-being.
EHEES is located in southwestern France. Elephant Haven is the only true elephant sanctuary in Europe. Only recently has EHEES received its first 2 elephants. Gandhi and Delhi, both Asian females. Gandhi was the first elephant to arrive. She is a 53 year old lady. She is very shy and was probably bullied in her past life. Not much is known about her past, although her former zookeeper has given some insights. Delhi was the second elephant to arrive and is 38 years old. She came from a Czech zoo. Very little is known of her past, as the zoo didn't keep records. Delhi is very curious. She spends her days exploring the rolling, green paddocks of EHEES. When Stews 4 Elephants spent a week volunteering at EHEES, we often found we had a supervisor named Delhi. Delhi is quite charming while she is being mischievous. The friendship between the two girls is growing. They can frequently be seen in the company of each other.
France has recently banned the use of elephants in circus. There are over 100 elephants in circuses in Europe. As is not always possible to send an elephant back to its home country, EHEES is expecting a few new residents once the new barn is completed. The founders Tony Verhulst and Sofie Goetghebuger ensure each elephant has respect, space and tranquility for the rest of his/her life. Elephant Haven does not breed, and only uses positive reinforcement for training and protected contact only. At Elephant Haven, European Elephant Sanctuary the care and comfort of the elephants are always top consideration.
South African Conservation Fund is the official Francoise and Lawrence Anthony Foundation for conservation work at Thula Thula Private Game Reserve.
In 1999 a herd of 7 "rogue" elephants was brought to Thula Thula. This herd of elephants was made famous in Lawrence Anthony's book, "The Elephant Whisperer". The book describes the extraordinary bond between Lawrence, and the herd’s matriarch, Nana. When Lawrence died on a business trip in 2012, the herd inexplicably knew and came to the main house to mourn his passing. Francoise’s book, "A Elephant in my Kitchen" tells of Lawrence‘s passing and its effect on the herd. The herd still continues to honor Lawrence. Her second book, "The Elephants of Thula Thula" describes the effects that Covid pandemic and the lack of visitors has had on Thula Thula. The threat of poaching has increased. It seems Hollywood has taken notice. Filming of the movie “The Elephant Whisperer” depicting Lawrence Anthony and this special herd‘s relationship will begin at Thula Thula In August 2023.
In 2020, Thula Thula began land expansion as the elephant herd now numbers 29 putting the reserve at maximum sustainable capacity. In 2021, Thula Thula and UBiZO CPA signed a historic agreement to join land for the purpose of greater conservation. This paved the way for the first step of the Greater Zululand Wildlife Conservacy to be formed. Donating to Thula Thula will support the efforts of land expansion for the elephants and other animals. The new land requires new electric fencing, new roads, and increased security. There is also a 24/7 team of anti-poaching guardians who protect the wildlife of Thula Thula, including the dehorned rhinos that call Thula Thula home.
Thula Thula also reaches out to local communities to involve them in the future of Thula Thula and to educate them on understanding why it is so important to ensure the future of these animals for the next generations.
Thula Thula is home to many animals other than elephants. Rhinos, giraffes, impala, buffalo and a cheetah are a few species that now call Thula Thula home. The new land expansion is another step in Lawrence’s dream coming true. His dream is that the land that was once King Shaka’s former private hunting ground will be returned to its former glory., with native species returning to their indigenous land.
Voice for Asian Elephants was founded by Sangita Iyer and is based in India. The problems facing the Indian Elephant population are quite different from those facing Thai elephants. India is home to 27,000 wild elephants and, as such, there are many incidents of human-elephant conflict. As the population of India skyrockets, the elephant habitat shrinks, forcing elephants to leave the forest in search of food and shelter and coming closer to human neighborhoods. Retaliatory killings, such as electrocution/poisoning, collision with trains and trucks are pushing elephants closer to extinction.
VFAE has been instrumental in helping create the Kerala Corridor, which has transformed plantation land into an elephant habitat and has created corridors so that elephants can move freely between forest patches, reducing human-elephant conflict and thwarting inbreeding that causes genetic disorders and untimely deaths. This innovative project has lessened the death toll which averages 400 elephants and 400-500 humans each year.
VFAE has also begun Project Flashlight. This project provides flashlights to villagers, so that chance of accidental night encounters with wild elephants is reduced.
A groundbreaking project that VFAE is beginning is "Saving Odisha Elephants from Traffic Deaths". Elephant deaths caused by traffic collisions are rising in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. Major highways cut through core elephant habitats, forcing elephants to cross busy roads in search of food. Speeding motorists and ineffective signage cause most of these deaths. VFAE is in the process of installing brighter, higher and more effective signs to warn drivers of possible elephant crossings.
The aim of VFAE is to secure a future for Odisha’s forgotten elephants by promoting harmonious and respectful human elephant coexistence.
VFAE has also embarked on the daunting task of helping India’s temple elephants. Although elephants are regarded as a deity in Indian culture, the elephants actually are treated as anything but revered animals. Rather, many elephants are rented to temples for parades and other festivities. VFAE has launched workshops to help sensitize key temples, train elephant handlers to use positive reinforcement, and to empower those with knowledge and tools to improve the welfare of these temple elephants, lessening the suffering of these beautiful animals.
Saengduean “Lek” Chailert
Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Northern Thailand where you can volunteer and visit to help. ENP has been involved in dozens of rescues which have created thriving elephant herds and is now home to over 100 elephants. These elephants have mostly come from the cruel tourist industry, street begging, landmine injuries, forced breeding injuries, or the even crueler logging industry. The park provides a natural environment for elephants, dogs, cats, buffaloes and many other animals under its care.
Elephant Sanctuary Brazil is the pilot program of Global Sanctuary for Elephants. ESB sits on 2800 acres of land in Chapada dos Guimaraes, Brazil. ESB is the first and only certified elephant sanctuary in South America and is the only safe option for elephants rescued from captivity. ESB is presently home to 6 elephants with plans to soon have more.
There are many sick and injured dogs on the streets of Thailand. Many have skin and eye infections, unchecked breeding, broken bones, untreated wounds, fleas, ticks and heart worms. A lot of these dogs have human inflicted injuries, broken bones and poisoning. All these things can lead to a very painful death. Pete’s Mission works with the local community to provide health care, sanctuary and rehabilitation to the street dogs of Pai. No animal is turned away. Pete’s Mission is a small organization and welcomes volunteers to help in its mission to provide a safe space for animals seeking refuge and a new home.
Cat Kingdom is a branch of Save Elephant Foundation. There are over 2500 cats living at Cat Kingdom located at Elephant Nature Park. These cats live in a large fenced-in area, keeping them safe. All of the cats are very well cared for, have their own beds, heat lamps and sweaters to keep them warm during the cool Northern Thailand nights. All the cats have been sterilized, vaccinated and examined for any health issues. The cats who call Cat Kingdom home were abandoned, found on the streets, were injured, rescued from kitty mills, and/or were living in squalid conditions. Many cats came to ENP Cat Kingdom during Covid after being abandoned. Caretakers either had gotten too ill or had passed, leaving the cats alone and often caged. Luckily ENP stepped in and brought these cats to Cat Kingdom. Although, they are now living the “cats meow”, the needs are still great. Your donation will provide food, flea/tick medicine, and vaccines for the more than 2500 cats.
ENP dogs is a dog rescue located in the middle of an elephant rescue property. ENP Dogs is home to over 30 paralyzed dogs and another 600+ dogs who are available for adoption. These dogs have come to call ENP home because of abandonment, strays, puppy mills, abuse, dog meat industry, or surrendered due to owners no longer able to care for them. Most arrived with some sort of injury or trauma. All dogs are Immediately quarantined, sterilized, vaccinated, examined and treated for injuries. Once determined to be healthy, they are put up for adoption. Many volunteers have found themselves taking a dog (or 2) back to their home country. At ENP many come to volunteer with the elephants, but stay for the dogs. Flight volunteers are always needed to get these dogs to their forever home.
LEAP is a group of supporters who are advocating for a better life for Lucy. Lucy is a solitary elephant who lives in a tiny concrete cell at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. She has been in the cold, harsh climate of Alberta since 1977 after being captured from the wild. LEAP advocates for Lucy to be moved immediately to sanctuary, LEAP wants the October 2022 qualified independent assessments of Lucy’s health to be honored.. Sanctuary will provide a more suitable climate and offer Lucy a better life. The Edmonton Valley Zoo is stubbornly holding on to Lucy citing her health issues, ignoring that these health problems were deemed a result of her life at the zoo. In the independent assessments of Lucy‘s health 2/3 globally respected elephant experts recommended she be moved. EVZ has listened to the lone dissenting expert. Because of this, Lucy remains in place and continues to suffer health issues. Lucy has been offered a home at Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee . Various groups/celebrities have offered to pay for her transport.
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