Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand

by Global Vision International Charitable Trust Vetted since 2006 Top Ranked Site Visit Verified
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand

Dear Supporters,

As the chilly mornings and evenings of the Thai cold season start to thaw, we begin to reflect on what we have achieved in the first few months of 2019. From helping to fund one of the village elephants to go to an elephant hospital, to attempting to break world records, to hiring a new scholar as part of the NSP (National Scholarship Program), we have seen that the bond we have built with the local community through this project is strong and long-lasting. This gives us renewed confidence about the long-term goals of the project.

With the changing of the seasons, our GVI Trust elephants, Khum Suk, Sah Jah and Lulu have been moved frequently by their mahouts. They now all reside in the conservation forest, which is a protected area about a 1 to 1 ½ hour walk from our base. When we go to see them now, we are likely to encounter any number of village elephants as a number of them are in this area. It is exciting for us to not only see our GVI Trust elephants in a new location almost every day, but to also not know what other elephants may be just around the corner! It is also exciting for our elephants, as Sah Jah may meet up with her son, Mario, Khum Suk may see her daughter, Thom Kham, or Lulu may find herself playing with cousin, Sunti

It is thanks to your help that Khum Suk, Sah Jah and Lulu continue to enjoy their days in their natural habitat. While fundraising to keep these elephants in the forests around Huay Pakoot is an important priority for us, it is also an opportunity to have fun! In January, we held a day of breaking world records. From hula hoop and leapfrog races, to eating contests, to toilet roll stacking, to the longest ping-pong rally, weird and silly challenges comprised the day; even our mahouts joined in with a bamboo cup crafting race! While we did not break any world records, we did establish ones for our project, of which we are very proud; we are now challenging others to break them! The whole event was streamed on Facebook Live and you can still catch-up on the day’s events on the GVI Chiang Mai Facebook page. We raised a good amount of money for the GVI Trust and had great fun doing so!

A portion of the money we fundraise is allocated to an emergency fund, in case a village elephant needs to visit the vet or an elephant hospital with their mahout. It is, of course, very expensive to transport a creature so large, especially for a small, remote community in the mountains of northern Thailand! When Khum Suk’s daughter and Lulu’s mother, Kha Moon, recently became unwell due to a blockage in her gut, the GVI Trust was at the ready to fund her transport to the hospital. Thanks to all of you, Kha Moon is now safe and well back in the forests around Huay Pakoot. Both Kha Moon’s mother and daughter were delighted to see her return!

Not all of the money that the GVI Trust receives goes just towards our elephants; it also allows us to up-skill local community members through the NSP (National Scholarship Program). Our Community Liaisons Dee and Don have been a real success story for the program, as having graduated, they are now an integral link between us and the village. They are taking on new responsibilities within the project regularly, from Dee leading hikes out to see the elephants, to Don leading our garden project; they are an immeasurable asset to us. It is therefore, with great excitement, that we can announce that a new scholar has joined us on the NSP, Su! Su is now with us full-time for three months and will focus on our community activities. With an impressive level of English already and being able to speak four languages (including Mandarin), she is a very talented individual, who we are delighted to be working with as our first female scholar! We are certain that she will be another success story for the NSP and our project.

 

As ever, we are continually reminded of the importance of this project. Without the work that we do and your critical support, these elephants would not be able to enjoy the life they so desperately deserve. When they’re sick, we can help; when their mahouts need new equipment, we can help; when the villagers want to learn new skills, we can help. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of the elephants and the local community.

Let’s keep this going throughout 2019!

With Gratitude, 

GVI Chiang Mai 

Dear Supporters,

Happy New Year all! What an eventful few months we’ve had here! With wilderness challenges, a whole lot of cultural celebrations, and a huge spay and neuter clinic for the dogs and cats of the village, 2018 is going to be a hard one to beat.

Imagine our delight to wake up one December morning, head up to base for breakfast, and see our Elephants in the cornfields just across from the village! The mahouts were moving them to a new area to let the forests regrow, and so for a few days we were able to see them walking across the hills and frolicking in the water, even hearing the odd playful trumpet! It was very special for all of us, as this happens very rarely - usually they are hidden in the forests and we have to scramble over tree branches and through rivers to reach them.

Thanks to all of our donors in 2018, our three elephants Khum Suk, Sadja and Lulu are still enjoying a natural life roaming freely through the forest. There is really nothing as special as witnessing these beautiful creatures being able to interact with their environment just as nature intended, and eating natural food. We are still proud to say that Khum Suk, our old matriarch who is coming on 70 years, is still pretty much as healthy and spritely as our younger elephants, and is commonly found knocking down huge bits of bamboo to eat. We attribute this health to her natural life and natural diet that she enjoys thanks to the GVI Trust.

But our work is not yet over. It costs the GVI Trust nearly $2000 every month to maintain this project, and this is why we frequently run fundraisers with our volunteers to be able to raise this money. We’ve had our fair share of fun this quarter, with a lot of celebrations going on including Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and the Thai Lantern festival, so plenty of opportunity to raise some money too! The interns created a Halloween face-painting and food party at base for volunteers and village children, everyone looked sufficiently scary and we managed to raise a significant amount of money for our elephants in just one evening - well done to everyone involved!

Of course I must also mention our Wilderness Camping Challenge - Thank you to all who donated to our challenge of staying out in the forest for two nights, cooking over the fire, and completing survival challenges along with the mahouts. As December approached it was getting rather chilly outside so it was all your donations that really got us through those cold nights! We raised enough to keep Sadja, Lulu and Khum Suk in the forest for another month just from that one weekend, which made it all worth it!

Here's to 2019! 

All our best,

GVI Chiang Mai 

Dear Supporters, 

This quarter we have tackled our most challenging fundraiser yet, seen fluctuating weather with some very wet hikes followed by very hot hikes, participated in a village celebration, and spent time with our elephants in new and beautiful parts of the forest.

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in, or donated to, our July fundraiser; Walk the path of the Huay Pakoot elephants. This involved 2 full days of walking from our village Huay Pakoot to the nearest town of Mae Chaem; 57km in total. Before transportation, elephants were used to transport supplies between Mae Chaem and the village - after walking the distance, we had a great deal of appreciation for these huge animals - it was not an easy feat! Over 20 staff, interns and volunteers took on this challenge, not only raising nearly $2000 for our elephants Khum Suk, Sadja and Lulu, but also having a great deal of fun. Speakers, good music, good company and breathtaking views made the blisters and aching feet more bearable. We spent the first night in a campsite before a gruelling second day of walking to meet our destination; being rewarded with a swimming pool and some Thai food upon arrival into Mae Chaem.

Our interns in Chiang Mai have been busy learning all about leadership so they can start planning their own Trust fundraisers here, as well as taking an active role in collecting data on our elephants. We have recently compiled all our elephant data into readable graphs and are very pleased to see that the elephants are displaying natural behaviours, which is mostly feeding and food prep, as well as a small amount of time spent walking. All of our elephants have previously been in camps and it has taken some of them a while to get used to life in the forest, so it’s very positive to see that they are now at home in the forest. Funds from the GVI Trust enable us to keep these elephants in the wild where they are able to roam freely and eat a varied diet.

Volunteers regularly check the elephants’ health, and recent analysis of this data has shown that all of our elephants are either consistently healthy or their health is improving over time. Despite Khum Suk’s old age of 68, she still has the same health score as Lulu, our youngest elephant!

We are excited about our upcoming plans for the last few months of the year; we are working on an online store, where we can sell trinkets from our hub like volunteer-designed T-shirts and traditional Karen bracelets. We are also working on recruiting ambassadors to promote our new ‘Adopt an Elephant’ campaign - each elephant costs $600 per month to keep in the forest, so we really need all the help we can get! Feel free to get in touch with the Chiang Mai team if you are interested in joining our Fundraiser Army!

The rainy season finally seems to be coming to a close and the village is relaxing after the official End of Planting celebration. Now we just wait for the harvest! The celebration in August involved visiting many different houses in the village and eating a lot of food. We try to be involved as much as possible in village life; the elephants have been a part of the Karen culture for many years, so immersing ourselves in the culture here helps us to understand the elephants too!

We still have our two Community Liaisons working for us; Dee and Don. They are both from the village and started out as scholars with GVI - funded through the Trust. They are invaluable in maintaining our good relationship with the villagers and mahouts. The last month Dee has successfully participated in the GVI staff trainings including First Aid, so he can begin to take a more active role in our project. Don’s English and confidence has also improved noticeably over the last few months and he enjoys teaching the volunteers the language Pakinyaw as well as helping out in English classes at the school. Hopefully one day he will also be able to pass the GVI trainings; this is in line with our objectives to give the villagers more job opportunities and to have a sustainable project which the village can take ownership of.

Look out for our new online store and for more fundraising events in the coming months. We hope to continue supporting our three elephants Sadja, Lulu and Khum Suk, as well as continuing to create opportunities for the villagers here to take an active role in our project. Thanks to everyone who has supported the Trust this quarter and for keeping up-to-date with all the happenings at our Chiang Mai hub.

Thank you so much for your continued support! 

All our best, 

GVI Chiang Mai

Dear Supporters, 

This past quarter has seen its share of unique experiences. Two of our GVI volunteers spent seven days studying Buddhism as novice monks, while another spent his time creating a database of new insects, spiders and snakes brought to the area due to the approaching rainy season. The team celebrated World Environment Day with a village-wide litter pick and a pledge to ‘change one thing’ to improve our environment.

Recent donations from the GVI Trust have helped three majestic elephants - Khum Suk, Lulu and Sadja - to stay in their natural habitat during the first half of 2018. Last month saw us meeting with the mahouts to renew elephant contracts, meaning we have all of our elephants (five from the volunteer project and three from the Trust fundraising) in the forest for another two years! Our good relationship with the mahouts and villagers here - based on effective communications and working together - means that our elephant owners are happy to renew their contracts with GVI, giving their elephant a consistently free life in the forest.

A new season allows us to explore new areas on hikes, as the elephants are moving into deeper forest and away from the roads and fields. The times of year and amount of food available dictates where the elephants choose to roam, and it’s very interesting to see the variation in their habitats. Being allowed to roam freely in the forest means they get a varied diet; the data we take on our elephants shows the large variety of food they eat, from banana trees to bamboo to tree bark. Having a huge territory in which to explore means these animals can head to the areas of the forest which have the food they are craving that day!

With a few memorable days recently, most notably World Environment Day, we have tried to become a more eco-friendly hub. To acknowledge the day - the theme being Beat Plastic Pollution - volunteers took part in a village litter pick where we filled a total of 27 bags! The same day, all volunteers made a pledge to ‘change one thing’ to improve their environment. Since then, we have introduced litter picks during our elephant hikes, to provide them and other forest-dwellers with a healthier and safer environment.

After Khum Suk was injured by a falling branch, the villagers turned to our base for medical assistance. No to worry, the elephant is healing up quite nicely. Maybe them seeking us out was due to our Mahout First Aid lessons that started merely weeks before, or from the evolving relationship growing from our evening Mahout English lessons. Our National Scholars-turned-Community Liaisons, Dee and Don, play a huge part in organising and helping out with both of these classes. They are integral to our GVI team, and it is thanks to the Trust’s supporters that we have them both with us.

Two volunteers, being inspired by the local Monks, decided to partake in a seven-day novice Monk-hood study at the Huay Pakoot temple. Our associated fundraiser - raising $290 - inspired other volunteers to learn more about the religion in this area. Proceeds from the Trust, as well as supporting our three elephants in the forest, go towards community efforts such as temple donations; religion is a big part of life here and it’s great that we can also be involved in celebrating and supporting this unique part of their culture.

Our elephants here are pretty special and leave their mark on many of our volunteers. It’s great to see volunteers returning home and continuing to help our elephants through fundraisers for the GVI Trust. A huge thanks has to go to Michelle Bickford who has initiated some very successful fundraisers since returning home earlier this year. In total she has raised well over $2000 for our three Trust elephants! We are always more than happy to assist fundraising efforts in any way we can, and are eternally grateful for people’s support.

The staff team have been coming up with some ideas to raise a little more cash for our elephants. This includes volunteers making some Karen-inspired jewellery using local beads, as well as purchasing t-shirts, postcards and stickers! Our Trust donation box is a big hit as well; with volunteers unleashing their spare change into it before their return home.

The next Trust fundraiser is set to happen in July; we plan to retrace the path of the elephants from Mae Chaem (a town 57km away) back to our village Huay Pakoot. Before motor transportation was readily available, elephants were used to transport supplies and people back and forth from Huay Pakoot and Mae Chaem. For volunteers and staff, it is a 57-kilometre walk, which will take two full days! The goal is to spread awareness and increase appreciation for these gentle giants.

In short, in the last few months we’ve seen a volunteer inspired fundraiser, an increase of biodiversity sighting and projects, an increased relationship between us and the villagers, and continued support from former volunteers and the outside world. The goal for the next quarter is to promote more SDG related projects, host one large fundraiser and continue growth within the community.

With Love and Gratitude, 

GVI Chiang Mai

Dear Supporters,

This quarter has seen GVI Chiang Mai take a big step in the direction of working alongside the Huay Pakoot community to accomplish long term goals. The introduction of the villagers and previous Mahouts Dee and Don as scholars for GVI has been a monumental improvement for the hub. They have accelerated many processes which had been a tough task in the past and educated staff and volunteers on how life is as a mahout. Creating improved communication between the village and GVI organising hikes and assimilating ideas to benefit the community as best we can. Their presence around base has been the catalyst to a increased efficiency and togetherness, and hiking with our trust elephants with their elephant and cultural knowledge has given a new light on aspects not considered in the past. 

Friday mornings have now adopted a new shape in the form of a project alongside the community to complete larger scale tasks with greater manpower. These projects have included helping to construct small dams on a river in the local conservation forest. These provide a pool of drinking water and a substantial mud pit for the elephants to frolic and wallow on especially hot weather days. Moreover the second of our projects saw the group help to clear fire line borders on the perimeters of planned burn sites to protect the elephants’ habitat from forest fires.

The funds provided generously by The Trust have seen the volunteers follow the Mahouts into the forest to gather ingredients for traditional elephant foods. This activity has taught us fascinating lessons about the Karen culture and reinforced their knowledge on the creation of traditional elephant medicine. Furthermore on hikes requiring health check data collected by up-close-and-personal contact with the elephants, our co-ordinator Myles alongside assistant base manager Max have been empowering the Mahouts with the study methodology. By teaching them our science we hope to strengthen and empower our partner continually so that one day it can stand on its own two feet. 

March has seen a GVI Trust fundraiser interviewing the Mahouts that have worked alongside our proud Matriarch Khum Suk to educate donators on the intimate world between keeper and the elephant. At the time of writing the fundraiser stands at £280 raised with an impending obstacle course pitting the volunteers and village children striving to build a miniature house to illustrate and educate on the lives once lived by the elephants of Huay Pakoot. 

The collected result of the donations we receive and the efforts conducted from them enables us to work towards an increased state of welfare for our three trust elephants Lulu, Khum Suk, and Sah Jah and keep them all in their natural environment in the forest while empowering the mahouts and embracing the Karen culture. 

Thank you for continuing to help us on our mission to keep these beautiful animals safe in their forrest, we appreciate everything you do and continue to do for Lulu, Khum Suk and Sah Jah.

With Gratitude, 

GVI Chiang Mai 

 

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Organization Information

Global Vision International Charitable Trust

Location: Exeter, Devon - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Carly Kruyer
Exeter, Devon United Kingdom
$68,788 raised of $80,000 goal
 
1,702 donations
$11,212 to go
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