Fantastic news! Recent donations from supporters like you have helped us to pay for Mario, a 4 year old male elephant calf, to stay in the forest surrounding Huay Pakoot with his own mahout for a period of another 6 months up until the end of 2013. The breakdown of $300 per month covers the cost of leasing Mario from his owner and a monthly salary for his local mahout, named Suhweet.
This donation allows Mario to live as a free elephant in the village of Huay Pakoot and the surrounding forest, spending his days foraging and playing with the other elephant calves in his herd rather then spending his days performing and giving rides at the elephant tourist camps around Chiang Mai.
The monthly salary and the lease of Mario provide 2 local villagers (his owner Sinchai and his mahout Suweet) with a monthly income for supporting elephant conservation and alternative livelihoods. They benefit by also remaining in their own village, with their family and friends and able to help their family with daily tasks and child rearing.
Mario is part of the Huay Pakoot Community Conservation Group which is focused on developing sustainable elephant tourism by allowing tourists to visit the elephants in their village and see them live in their natural habitat as well as utilize local homestays, eat local foods and learn about local Karen livelihood. Mario also brings the possibility of other villagers bringing in income through these endeavours.
Mario was born in the elephant camps of Chiang Mai as his mother, Sun Jap, has been a working elephant for many years. Nearly 2 years ago, their owner Sinchai, decided to bring these elephants out of the camps and back to the village in order to work towards his dream of developing sustainable elephant tourism in his village. In the meantime funding is required to help keep Mario and his mother and the other elephants in the village in order to develop these sustainable initiatives and conservation efforts
A big thank you to all of our donors and volunteers that work to contribute to this project.
Assistant Director of Programs