Everyone at GVI is proud to announce that Mana gave birth to a beautiful baby boy around 3pm Saturday, January 28th. After months of waiting for the baby to arrive we are all very excited to welcome a 6th elephant to our herd.
Since Sunday volunteers have been monitoring Mana and her baby nearly around the clock and recording both quantitative social behaviours and qualitative observations. Everyone has been working very hard and we are all a bit sleep deprived, but it has been worth it. Mana was tired and weak after the birth, and on Sunday she was not eating and was not nursing her baby properly. However, the mahouts told us that the baby had been nursed by Boon Jan, another female in our herd with a 2 year old baby of her own. This is a great example of allomothering and it is great to see the other elephants in the GVI herd accepting and taking care of the new arrival. Thong Dee has also been very attentive to both the baby and Mana. As an experienced mother Thong Dee appears to be offering support to Mana, and the new baby is already socializing with Thong Dee, touching her and trying to suck from her nipples.
The newest member of our herd has not been named yet, and it’s customary in Karen culture to wait some time after birth before naming them.
We would like to share the most recent trustee report from the GVI Charitable Trust. This report covers the six month period from July to December 2011.
We are delighted to share that this has been by far our most successful period, raising in six months nearly as much as we did the whole of the previous year. This increase in funding has brought a corresponding increase in the impact we have been able to create on our programs around the world.
During this period we have invested in sustainable education across Latin America including support for the elderly in Guatemala and income generation schemes to support education in Honduras and Ecuador. In Mexico we have worked with a community to establish a recycling centre and in Kenya our partners in Mombasa will now realise their goal of seeing impoverished students through to completion of the primary education earning recognised qualifications for the first time.
These are just a few highlights of an amazing, productive and rewarding six months. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and played a crucial role in these achievements.
After a considerable amount of time working with Elephants in Huay Pakoot, Chiang Mai, Thailand we can now observe remarkable differences with the elephants which are now living in the wild.
GVI Volunteers work on the project throughout the year helping to create a safe environment for the Elephants and collecting important research. In addition they work with the local people helping them to develop alternative livelihoods.
A recent volunteers shared this story about one of the regular forest walks with the elephants:
‘The elephants were very curious about us and they made their way over to say hi when we first came upon them. Then each elephant went on their way, ripping down bamboo to eat as they went. We even saw Elephant Thong Dee, who is usually a bit antisocial, put her trunk in Boon Jan's mouth. The elephants were also very vocal and we heard a lot of rumbling and trumpeting all morning long. We also heard gibbons calling in the distance. Their call is very distinct and haunting and it was incredible to be hiking in the jungle observing elephants and hear gibbons calling off in the distance. At one point the gibbons were calling and the elephants were rumbling at the same time. It was a truly breathtaking moment and a very memorable hike overall.’
Funds raised through the GVI Charitable Trust will help us to bring more elephants and the owners into this program, creating a sustainable population.
To further support the project a group of GVI staff and volunteer will be participating in the Christmas day Chiang Mai Marathon. They have been working hard to both fundraise and train for the big day, good luck to everyone taking part.
Many thanks to everyone who has supported this project and have a wonderful Christmas break.
The past few days have been exciting for our herd of five elephants because there have been two new elephants for them to socialize with! The chief of Huay Pakoot is an elephant owner and he has had two elephants, a mother named Mae San Jap, and her infant calf named Mario, back home in the village since March.
For the last two months they have been living in the forest, and for the last few days they have been staying near and socializing with our herd. Song Kran, our youngest infant who is a year and four months old, has become good buddies with Mario, who is about the same size as Song Kran. They have been playing together every day, wrestling and touching each other. Volunteers have even observed allo mothering and Song Kran breast fed, or at least attempted to, from Mario’s mother.
Our other infant, Bpee Mai, has also been socializing with Mario a bit but it is Song Kran who has made a new best friend. We hope that Mario and his mother can stay in the forest near Huay Pakoot and do not have to return to work in the near future. The chief and his son, along with GVI, are working to bring ecotourists to the village to help fund Mario and his mother and help keep them in the forest.
Elephant keeping in a traditional farming community can be difficult, because elephants can wander into farms in search of food. This can lead to major human-elephant conflict because an elephant eating a farmer’s field means a loss of food and income for that farmer. In one night an elephant can destroy an entire season’s work. However, the villagers of Huay Pakoot practice traditional elephant management techniques that help them avoid such unfortunate conflicts.One example of elephant management is building fences to keep elephants, and livestock as well, out of farmer’s fields.
The villagers have built one such fence in order to allow our herd of elephants to pass from one part of the forest to another. Through the field the farmers have created a corridor for our elephants to pass through with a barbed wire fence on both sides of the path in order to prevent the elephants from eating their corn. For the past two days the elephants have used the corridor when hiking with GVI volunteers, and volunteers have got to experience firsthand village elephant management techniques. It is a great solution to potential conflict during the farming season and benefits both the elephants and the farmers.
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GVI Charitable Trust Manager