Our collaborative project is based in the village of Huay Pakout and focuses upon supporting and empowering local communities to achieve sustainable incomes through the implementation and promotion of ethical treatment of elephants. The project supports the reintegration of elephants, that have previously worked in the tourism industry, back into the forest and the local community to develop an eco-tourism model dependent upon the conservation of the local forests and habitats.
The Asian elephants are an endangered species and the wild population is declining at a rapid rate due to wildlife trade, illegal capture, habitat loss, and tourism trade. The elephants used in the tourism trade are often forced to endure harsh training and suffer poor living conditions throughout their life whilst rural communities in South East Asia often face challenges regarding education and economic opportunities.
The collaborative project focuses on education and creating economic opportunities that are driven by improved animal welfare for elephants. Through child and adult education initiatives, elephant research, and biological studies, the project is supporting the local community to create a sustainable eco-tourism program, modeled upon ethical elephant experiences, which can be replicated by other organizations and communities.
The project has a defined end goal and sustainability plan. The income generated through tourism will support the long-term placement of the elephants in the village and improve the livelihoods of the community, whilst reducing the reliance upon farming which is helping to drive local habitat loss, on which the elephants are dependent. In the long term the project will phase over to the community and the collaborative partners, once they feel prepared to continue independently.
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