Let's Help Save Thai Elephants from Starvation

Over 3,000 Thai elephants and 160 sanctuaries are deeply affected by the COVID-19 crisis as tourists disappear.

Let's Help Save Thai Elephants from Starvation
© Siam2nite

There are over 3,000 elephants in more than 160 sanctuaries in Thailand. All are deeply affected by the COVID-19 crisis due to the drastic drop of tourists – their main source of income.

As a result, more than half of elephant sanctuaries are forced to close down temporarily. At the same time, they still have to cover the expenses that come with caring for these majestic giants, which can cost as much as 35,000 - 40,000 per month per animal.

If the sanctuaries can’t support their elephants and mahouts in the long run, they might have to shut their doors for good.

What does this mean for the elephants?

First, they might starve due to food shortage as well as suffer injury as they inevitably fight for the supplies. Even worse still, the sanctuaries might be forced to release the animals and their caretakers back into horrible situations. Roaming the streets as begging elephants, for instance.

Another example would be sending the beasts to lumber camps from whence they were rescued. (The ban on using elephants to pull trees was enacted in 1989 on the basis of animal cruelty.)

© มูลนิธิอนุรักษ์ช้างและสิ่งแวดล้อม

So why not release them back into the wild?

Unlike its wild cousins, domesticated elephants cannot survive by themselves; they don’t even know how to forage for food. It’s also illegal to release registered elephants into the jungle and/or national parks.

Another reason is that there simply aren’t enough forested areas and natural resources in Thailand to support a population of 3,000+ elephants.

© Dashu83 / Freepik

Even in these trying times, we can still pitch in and help make sure our national animals are well-fed and taken care of. To donate directly to foundations and projects that are working to resolve the issue, see our list down below.

1. Save Elephant Foundation
Kasikorn Bank, Chang Khlan Road Branch, Chiang Mai.
Account No. 407-2-33888-5.
2. Thai Elephant Alliance Association
Kasikorn Bank, Chiang Mai Airport Intersection Branch, Chiang Mai.
Account No. 067-8-56914-3.
3. Raks Thai’s Let the Elephants Pack their Trunks & Head Home Safely Campaign

Every baht donated will be distributed to sanctuaries in various provinces, mostly to provide food, medicine, and supplies to make sure the elephants stay comfortable. Let’s help them get through this crisis together!

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