Connect with us

Coronavirus Thailand

Helping Thailand’s starving elephants whilst the tourists are away

Tanutam Thawan




PHOTO: A recent delivery of food to two elephant owners, ‘Rawang’ and ‘Chuslip’, who both had their elephants, Kornkow and Meatoy, leased to an elephant park in Khao Lak. Now they are having to care for the elephants themselves, and they were relieved and grateful to receive the food supplies.

The Southern Thailand Elephant Foundation is helping to supply vital food to starving elephants in the south of Thailand, and trucks have already been rolled out to deliver this food to some of the 1,360 domesticated elephants throughout the southern region. The number of elephants affected by the collapse of tourism in Thailand is set to increase dramatically as more and more elephant owners, now with no income, run out of savings to buy food for their elephants.

STEF has volunteers on the ground in Thailand identifying vulnerable elephants and coordinating food supplies. To help with this work, STEF has joined forces with another charitable organisation, the Thai Elephant Alliance Association, and both charities are together striving to ensure that the collapse of Thailand’s tourist industry following the Covid-19 outbreak doesn’t result in domesticated elephants starving.

Thailand has been in lock-down since the end of March, the elephant parks have closed, and many of the elephants have been returned to their owners. But these owners, often an elephant’s mahout or other individual, relied heavily on the income they received from tourism and, without it, they are now struggling to feed themselves as well their elephant. It costs US$75 (2,400 baht) a week to feed a single elephant.

Locals in Thailand, where the elephant is the country’s national animal, are also doing all they can to help. One farmer has donated a field of sugar cane to the cause. Trucks deliver mostly fodder and bags of feed pellets; each truck load costs 2,400 baht and provides enough food to last one elephant for a week. With 1,360 domesticated elephants in Southern Thailand the scale of the problem is massive.

Since the launch of its appeal to Save the Starving Elephants, STEF has raised over US$8,790 from donations via JustGiving and from generous private donations.

“We are also asking our supporters to sponsor a food delivery truck for 2,400 baht. STEF is run entirely by volunteers and all the money raised through these appeals is going directly to Thailand to provide food for the elephants.”


The Southern Elephant Foundation (STEF) is an international charity, registered in England, which raises funds to support projects that promote the ethical treatment and high standards of health and welfare of elephants in Southern Thailand.

Our major community project at present is to fund the construction of an elephant veterinary centre at Ban Ton Sae, in Phang Nga province, Southern Thailand. The centre, which we expect to be open later this year, will provide free treatment for elephants in the region, and eventually include an education centre and a rest-home for old or abused elephants.

For more information please contact Gillian Newsum on 07 77 599 2124 or email


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 hour ago

Despite low riders, Covid-19 train to continue

Pattaya2 hours ago

Planning for “Pattaya Move On” reopening scheme continues

Best of3 hours ago

Top 5 cookie shops in Bangkok

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Drugs4 hours ago

Marine police seize 30 kilograms of methamphetmine from squid fishing boat

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Bars defy bans, Sandbox ‘still on’, vaccine rush | July 28

Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand to apply for Guinness World Record for longest petrified log

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Koh Samui bar and club finds 16 Covid-19 infections

Best of7 hours ago

Kanchanaburi’s 5 coolest hotels

Thailand7 hours ago

Thousands of inmates granted royal pardon on HM the King’s birthday

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: 16,533 new cases; provincial totals

Best of8 hours ago

5 of the most amazing hotels in Koh Chang

Best of8 hours ago

The best steakhouses in Pattaya serving juicy steak

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Girls infected with Covid after mother dies at home; public criticises healthcare system

Coronavirus Vaccines10 hours ago

Crowds rush to Bang Sue for vaccination ahead of walk-in registration ending

Coronavirus Thailand11 hours ago

Thai PM predicts current Covid crisis will be over in 2 or 3 weeks – 4 at the most

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8