Potential catastrophe facing Thailand’s elephant camps

PHOTO: Saengduean “Lek” Chailert with her elephants

Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, along with many other camps in Thailand, have been forced to close their doors due to the current Coronavirus situation in Thailand. Apart from resulting in hardship for the elephants, it will seriously hurt Thailand’s tourism industry in the future if no support is forthcoming soon.

And whilst we’re hunkering down in our homes waiting for the virus crisis to pass, what becomes of the elephants?

Saengduean “Lek” Chailert, owner of Elephant Nature Park and founder of Save Elephant Foundation, believes many of the closures will be permanent.

“I have been to visit many of the camps and the situation is very serious.”

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“The elephants have been chained up since the tourists stopped coming. They are very stressed and upset. Some have started to attack each other from being chained up all day and several have bite wounds as they are fighting over food. The pregnant elephants are also stressed and not doing well at all.”

What does that mean for the future?

“If there is no support forthcoming to keep them safe, the elephants will either starve to death or may be put onto the streets to beg. Alternatively, some may be sold to zoos and some may be returned to the logging business (which officially banned the use of elephants in 1989). It’s a very bleak outlook unless some financial help is received immediately.”

At Elephant Nature Park, which houses more than 3000 animals, many disabled or emotionally unstable, a frantic fund-raising effort is underway for food and medical needs. Some of the elephants need intensive, regular veterinary care.

Lek thanked donors on her Facebook page saying…

“I have been in touch with more than 30 elephant camp owners to help them find a way out. My ability to help these animals is an extension of your generosity, I cannot do it without your help. There is no amount too big or too small to impact the lives of these animals. 100% of each donation is tax deductible and goes directly to Elephant Nature Park. I will share these donations with elephants in other camps as appropriate.”


TRUNKS UP is a certified supporting organisation which is currently MATCHING all donations, dollar for dollar, up to US$45,000. Donations can be made via the site.

Where the money will go…

  • US$30 will feed an elephant for a day
  • US$20 will feed a dog or cat for one week
  • US$10 will feed a pig, cow or buffalo for one week
  • US$8 will feed a monkey for one week
  • US$5 will feed a rabbit for one week

Potential catastrophe facing Thailand's elephant camps | News by Thaiger

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