Here’s how you can support the first elephant-friendly camp
Gorgea and her daughter Mayuri are just two of the many elephants in Thailand that are currently being forced into an unnatural environment for the entertainment of tourists. This holiday season you can be part of a movement to change their lives for the better.
Earlier this year, we announced that we will be supporting Happy Elephant Valley (previously known as Happy Elephant Care Valley) in Thailand in their transition to become an elephant-friendly elephant camp—the first of its kind.
The decision to make this transition came following the presentation of a business case demonstrating the rise of elephant-friendly tourism from our coalition of travel industry leaders, which includes TUI Group, The Travel Corporation, Intrepid Group, G Adventures, EXO Travel, Thomas Cook Group, DER Touristik and others.
Elephants are wild animals that can only be tamed, not domesticated. Attractions that allow interaction between tourists and elephants use cruel, coercive methods to keep the animals under control. With this transition, Happy Elephant Valley will end tourists bathing and feeding the elephants. Continue reading to find out why this is harmful.
Gorgea and Mayuri: This family needs you this holiday season
Like many elephants in entertainment in Thailand, Gorgea and her daughter were bought from the logging industry. They arrived malnourished, exhausted and terrified. Years of being bullied and beaten with a bull hook by humans had made them scared and angry.
All day Gorgea and Mayuri stay together. After they have eaten they are kept in the cramped enclosure. In the afternoon the mother and daughter are made to join the others to walk the mile downstream to where the river is deep enough to swim for tourists to bathe them.
Throughout Thailand washing elephants is pitched as a positive, natural pastime that the elephants enjoy but this isn’t the truth. Often too many excited visitors crowd the elephants in the rivers, splashing water. Being close to humans isn’t something elephants enjoy, especially when they have suffered for years in the logging and entertainment industry. It’s wearisome for them and it can put tourists at risk.
In the wild, elephants cover themselves with mud and dust to protect themselves from sun and parasites – they would not wash away this protective layer.
At night this mother and daughter are kept on very short chains or locked into crowded pens. When Gorgea and Mayuri are chained up at the end of the day, they start swaying within minutes. There is a long night ahead for them; they are unable to move freely and only just able to reach each other from their chains. This causes them emotional and physical pain. It is no way for these elephants to live.
How you can help
With the support from people like you, Gorgea and Mayuri will be amongst the first to be moved to the newly improved Happy Elephant Valley, which is currently under construction. They will have more freedom and no interaction with humans.
Please consider making a donation to unshackle elephants’ chains this holiday season. Thanks to a generous donor, your gift today will be matched dollar per dollar.
*All gifts toward this holiday match will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $150,000 until December 31st, 2018 at midnight.