GVI’s Asian Elephant reintroduction program here In Chiang Mai Thailand welcomed a new addition this month. Very early on the 17th of February they welcomed a successfully born new male calf to their project. With now 3 generations of elephants living together on the project, having previously been separated to work in the tourist industry this a very big success for the project. Also with the prospect of recording important behavioral data on the infant and family group together, the project is a buzz.
With the main aim of the project to bring as many captive elephants back to a natural environment as possible, having a new infant born on the project is a huge achievement for GVI. Without the project working in conjunction with the local community of Huay Pakoot, this baby male Asian elephant would have more than likely began life in a tourist camp. This would be both unnatural for the infant and also much more stressful for his mother.
So far the young male has had a great start to life with 24 hour care from his mother, as well as the watchful eye of his mahout who spends every night since his birth sleeping in the forest with the elephant family. After 48 hours to build up his strength, the infant along with his family moved from the birth site to an ideal area of the forest with great food and water supplies. This is essential to moms production of milk which the young male will be completely dependent on for the first year of his life. As an extra precaution, a vet was also called to come out and give both mother and son a thorough health check. With GVI staff and Mahouts present as much information was gathered as possible to ensure the highest level of care will be given to the new addition as possible. The health check was very successful for both mom and son.
With such limited scientific and behavioral data collected on Asian elephants, the opportunity to study this new infant and his progression is hugely exciting. Studying his behaviors, as well as that of the adults in his family group individually and as a herd as a whole may unearth as yet unknown knowledge to science.
It’s safe to say that the near future is a very exciting prospect for both current GVI personnel and future volunteers to witness this young male grow and develop.
Thank you for your continued support.
All the best
GVI Chiang Mai
During January, the GVI Chiang Mai hub launched a new fundraising project. The hub designed hoodies and cookbooks to be sold to volunteers as a way to raise extra funds for the project. Currently, three out of the nine elephants are funded through the Charitable Trust and any extra money raised will help keep them in the Chiang Mai forests where they belong. The extra funds raised will also go towards covering some of the expenses for the new base hut that is currently under construction.
The cookbook has been an ongoing project created over some months by different interns and long- term volunteers. Creating it involved talking with various villagers about traditional Karen food and its preparation, ingredients, and cooking methods. Recipes included basic day-to-day vegetarian and meat dishes to ceremonial dishes. The book also talks about cooking very traditionally in the forest, going into detail about the methods the local community use to prepare their food. The idea of offering the book to volunteers is to give them a memento to take home and use during and after their time on the project.
Save the Asian Elephant Hoodies
Three different hoodies were designed by a staff member on the project. Having been a previous volunteer on the GVI South Africa Limpopo project and seen the success of hoodies designed by another volunteer, he decided to attempt the same feet at GVI Chiang Mai. After a basic design was completed, volunteers were able to vote for their favourite quotes. Once the votes narrowed down the options to a final three, the designs were finalised and the first order of 75 hoodies was placed.
Both initiatives have gone well, with nearly every volunteer purchasing a hoodie or a cookbook. With an interest being shown over Facebook and our other social media platforms, we are looking into offering the products on a wider scale in the next couple of months. It is hoped that together with our two annual large fundraising events, it will help the project to have a constant stream of funds to help the project grow, evolve and eventually have a greater impact on the conservation of these amazing creatures.
Merry Christmas from everyone at GVI Huay Pakoot and the GVI Charitable Trust
What a year for our elephants! Thanks to your support and donations, our three elephants, Mae Sah Jah, Khum Suk and Mario have thrived in the forest. These three elephants have been taken from the tourism industry and are now able to live their lives in the forest surrounding the village of Huay Pakoot, thanks to you. The funding from GVI Charitable Trust directly provides these three elephants with an opportunity to escape the tourist industry and live their lives as elephants should, roaming and foraging in the forest.
We also managed to start on the elephant clinic this year, as well as providing more Mahouts with basic Elephant first aid training, in memory on Songkran.
We have also seen our Biodiversity Assessment Surveys thrive! The purpose of these surveys is to gain a better understanding of what wildlife exists in our forest, especially as the surrounding area hasn’t yet been studied. The forests in Northern Thailand were once rich in biodiversity; unfortunately, due to the human impact on the environment, this has decreased mainly due to settlement, agriculture and hunting. Northern Thailand is still very much an under researched region, giving us an ideal opportunity to perhaps either discover new and rare species, or animal behaviors. A long-term aim is to educate the villagers and volunteers on the area’s biodiversity in order to help preserve forest ecosystems.
We sincerely hope, with your support, that this project continues to grow into 2015. The more funds we can bring in, the more elephants we can rescue from horrific circumstances and reintroduce back into a natural habitat, so thank you!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
GVI Charitable Trust
GVI Charitable Trust funds, received through GlobalGiving supporters like you, support three elephants, Mae Sah Jah, Khum Suk and Mario. These three elephants have been taken from the tourism industry and are now able to live their lives in the forest surrounding the village of Huay Pakoot.
Khum Suk is a 62 year old female. She has been part of GVI since June 2013, when she returned to Huay Pakoot from a tourist camp with her daughter Kha Moon and her granddaughter Lulu. Before joining GVI, Khum Suk spent many years in tourist camps and in the logging industry. Funded by GVI Charitable Trust, she is able to forage in the forest next to her daughter Kha Moon.
Mae Sah Jah is a 41 year old female. She was originally brought back to the forest surrounding Huay Pakoot as part of the Community Conservation Group, but was added to GVI in June 2013. Previously, she was giving rides and performing tricks in tourist camps, and before that she was used in logging. Mae Sah Jah now spends her days in the forest with GVI’s other elephants Mana and Thong Dee.
Mario, a 4 year old male, is Mae Sah Jah’s son. He is still part of the Community Conservation Group but is also funded by GVI Charitable Trust. Mario was born in a tourist camp where he lived for two years. In the camp, his mother Mae Sah Jah stopped producing milk so they were brought back to Huay Pakoot. As a result of the lack of milk, Mario had become malnourished but was able to regain his health while living in the forest. Mario is now a healthy juvenile with a playful and very boisterous personality.
The funding from GVI Charitable Trust directly provides these three elephants with an opportunity to escape the tourist industry and live their lives as elephants should, roaming and foraging in the forest.
Thank you for supporting this project.
We are delighted to announce that, thanks to your support, the Charitable Trust is now supporting a new elephant, Khumsuk!
62 year old Khumsuk returned to Huay Pakoot, along with her daughter Khamoon and granddaughter Lulu. They were reunited in the village for the first time in many years and they greeted each other with deep rumbles, excited chirps, and knowing trunk touches. It was a heart-warming sight and reinforces the quote “An elephant never forgets”.
Paired up with her daughter, over the last year, Khumsuk roams freely around the forests surrounding Huay Pakoot and is living the life that unfortunately in Thailand not all elephants are able to experience. Her days consist of nothing more than walking the forest foraging for food, making up lost time with her daughter Khamoon and basically just being an elephant. Compared to her former life of logging and giving rides to tourists her life is a whole lot brighter. Now that she is back in the forest it is physically obvious that she is happier, in her temperament and the way she carries herself. She radiates happiness and good health and it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that all she has to do now is simply “be”. “Khumsuk is happier in the forest and this makes us happy”. A statement often spoke by her Owners/Mahouts Singtoh and Dee.
Where in the forest she is positioned changes day to day and season to season, but the constant factor is she is always with her daughter and the two are never seen far from one another. The pair are often guided by their mahouts so as not to bump into our other resident mature elephant Thong Dee. This being because the two do not share a love for one another. Whether this is because they are both strong mature females, or due to a lifelong tiff that begun when they were young elephants meeting in Huay Pakoot over boys, food or territory is unclear but it sure does allow the imagination to run wild.
As long as Khumsuk is in the forest life will be better not only for herself but her owners and mahouts as well. Instead of working long hours over long months away from home they both get to be close to their family and in an environment that is beneficial to both their health and wellbeing.
Thank you for allowing Khumsuk to be with us.
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