In March 2020, Thailand shut its doors to tourism in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. An action that forced over 3,500 elephants used in the tourism industry into 24-hour leg and neck chains and certain starvation. Sadly, almost 15 months later, the surviving elephants are near total starvation, still in leg chains, and another day closer to death.
An estimated 245 tourist elephant “camps” existed in Thailand in 2020, providing rides and circus style demeaning performances with captive elephants. While there has been a massive, ongoing international campaign by animal welfare groups to phase out these exploitative activities, the abrupt, long-term loss of tourist revenue has left camp operators and elephant owners as abandoned as the animals themselves.
One year ago, Save Elephant Foundation, with the financial support of Trunks Up, courageously stepped up with an emergency food purchasing and distribution campaign to help support 223 camps, aiding 1,826 elephants and 1,600 elephant keepers. Without any assistance from the Thai Government, their resources were depleted within months.
Today, with the leadership of Dr. Jane Goodall, in collaboration with Save Elephant Foundation’s Founder Lek Chailert, the FOODBANK: BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL feed campaign is launching to help provide emergency funds to purchase and distribute locally grown food to as many remaining elephant camps as possible.
“We think about how inconvenient it is to be locked down in our homes. We must understand that this lockdown has become a living hell for the beautiful Giant,” Chailert, who is also the Founder of Elephant Nature Park, told WAN. “COVID-19 has offered them a critically untenable situation and we must bring attention and relief to their desperate circumstance.”
The campaign’s goal is to bring immediate relief to these starving elephants through international attention to the tragic plight of these exploited animals and the role of the Thai authorities in their neglect.
“The captive elephants of Thailand have so little time left. Already, many are falling down and dying while in chains. This requires a dire effort and a compassionate response from all those who love the elephant,” concluded Chailert.
Donations to this important initiative can be made HERE!
Visit FOODBANK for campaign details.
Thank you for helping to save these gentle giants!
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg