This project enables elephants and their Mahouts to live back in their home community in Huay Pakoot, a Karen community in Northern Thailand. This offers an alternative livelihood away from working in tourist camps and street begging. Here, these elephants can return to their natural habitat - the forest - and the Mahouts to their families. The GVI Trust helps to improve livelihoods and job opportunities for community members.
Street begging and working in tourist camps significantly reduces the life expectancy of these endangered species. It diminishes their high cultural importance and places individuals in inhumane living conditions. Working elephants are waiting to join our forest reintegration program and funds are needed to facilitate this. Mahouts and owners join our education and alternative livelihoods program along with their elephants to ensure they have a sustainable alternative form of work.
Living in the forest has a dramatic effect on the elephants, increasing their mental, physical health and their life expectancy. We take data on the elephants to understand their behaviour and help mitigate human/elephant conflict. We track the behaviour of the elephants once they are reintegrated to the forest. Teaching children about elephants, conservation and involve the community by volunteers staying in local homestays and teaching villagers English so they can interact with each other.
Increase and promote ethical elephant tourism by allowing volunteers to come and stay in the village of Huay Pakoot. By promoting this form of tourism, we will increase the demand and encourage similar companies to spring up where the elephants are able to roam freely in the forest. We work with the village creating a self-sustaining eco-tourism project that they have ownership of. This provides income for the villagers and allows the elephants' mahouts to stay with them instead of living apart.