Save Elephant Foundation is a Thai non–profit organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephant population through a multifaceted approach involving local community outreach, rescue and rehabilitation programs, and educational ecotourism operations. Each of the flagship projects is aimed at accomplishing that mission.
Saengduean “Lek“ Chailert was born in the small hill tribe village of Baan Lao. During her childhood, Lek helped her grandfather, Noom, the local shaman (traditional healer) care for both people and animals. During this time, Lek discovered her love and passion. She decided to devote her life to improving the welfare of sick, abused, and neglected animals, and to provide a safe haven for them to live.
Soon, Lek began advocating and speaking up for the rights and welfare of elephants, Thailand’s national symbol.
Lek brought to light the cruel, traditional practice of elephant training called “phajaan”. Because of this, her family soon abandoned her and there were threats on her life. Still she persisted. Through hard work and determination, Lek is now internationally recognized as a leading advocate for the endangered Asian elephant. In 2001, Lek was named Ford Foundation’s “Hero of the Planet”. In 2005, she was honored as one of the Time Magazine’s Heroes of Asia for her work in conservation. In 2010, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, invited Lek to Washington , DC, to honor her as one of six Women Heroes of Global Conservation. Lek has also received many other accolades and honors both in Thailand and globally.. She is regularly featured in many programs highlighting the living conditions of Thailand’s elephants. Lek’s voice for animal welfare and conservation continues to be heard throughout the world as her mission to save Asian elephants expands.