Hope Amidst Despair

In our 23rd Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spas #ElephantProfessional lecture, Dr Thittaya Janyamathakul demonstrated how the Thai Elephant Alliance Association had helped the elephants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photos of the tourist spots during the pandemic. Screenshot from Dr. Thittaya Janyamathakul’s lecture.

Since March 2019, Thailand had decided to close its border, essentially stopping all international travels and depriving elephant camps and mahouts (elephant caretakers) of their income, according to Dr. Janyamathakul.

“But the one that we’re very concerned about is the effect on the elephants,” said raised Dr. Janyamathakul, “without the income of the camp, they will lower the budget for food.”

This meant elephants in the camps would receive less exercise and less interaction with other elephants and human, and in the case that they fall ill, their owners might not have the budget for medical care.

According to Dr. Janyamathakul, the situation could be even more devastating to the rental elephants, since many owners decided to leave the elephant camps and bring the elephant back home, which could be far away from elephant hospitals.

Walking through COVID-19 with elephants

As a response to the worsening situation, the Thai Elephant Alliance Association (TEAA) has begun the fundraising project “Walking through COVID-19 with elephants” on social media with the hashtags #ช่วยช้างถึงช้าง and #fromhandstotrunks.

By teaming up with more than a dozen other organizations including the Thai Elephant Conservation Center (TECC) and Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF), they have now expanded their normal coverage from Northern Thailand to more than 1500 elephants in the entire country.

An important part of the project revolves around elephant food, since elephants devour more than 100 kg of vegetarian food daily.

This includes grass, pineapple stalk, corn stalk, watermelon, banana, mango, jackfruit, pellet food and more.

The association also ensures that they continue to provide medical care – including elephant mobile clinic, medical box, elephant ambulance, blood transfusion, vet and vet nurse – to all the elephants in need.

The project is still on-going and you can now contribute to their cause here.

Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily represent Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.