AYUTTHAYA ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
Twelve years ago, founder and owner of the Ayutthaya Royal Elephant Kraal, Laithongrien Meepan, started bringing back elephants to their historical home. This was at a time of crisis in the country when elephants were being trucked into cities to beg on the streets for food and handouts from tourists. Initially his idea was to get a few elephants and mahouts off the street and give them easy, legal, and safe work. Today, more than one hundred and fifty elephants later, Laithongrien’s vision continues to expand.
The need for additional land to give the elephants more space in which to roam free and to socialize is paramount. The plan is to create an elephant sanctuary with the purchase of nearby farmland.
The purchase of this new land will be done with funds raised by The Trunk Show. We are excited at making a significant improvement in the lives of so many elephants.
Still from Marimba Films video that was screened at The Trunk Show. Photo by Andrew Bicknell
ELEPHANT RESCUE & ABANDONED WELL CLOSURE PROJECT
Sumatra maintains one of the few remaining natural habitats for Asian Elephants. There are only 400 wild elephants left on the island of Sumatra. This wild population is severely threatened due to continued illegal logging, the conversion of forest to farmland, and Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC).
One of the main projects that is currently being undertaken is the Elephant Rescue & Abandoned Well Closure Project. In the 1980’s, the Indonesian Government translocated whole villages of people in order to make room for the National Park. In the Javan style, each home in these villages had its own well. Over the years, these abandoned wells, now overgrown with foliage, have proven to be a lethal obstacle for young elephants as many of the wells are spread across the migratory path of wild elephant herds.
The rescue of baby elephant trapped in well.
Rescued baby, Pepi, now happy and healthy.
Money raised from this auction will go to help fund the field teams working to cover the elusive yet dangerous wells. With your help this project can be completed by Spring of 2009. Once complete the teams will be able to refocus their energy in the greater issues of habitat loss and HEC. We look forward to working with this dedicated group in preserving what we can of the elephants’ natural habitat as well as protecting the existing wild elephant population.