The welfare of the elephant must be paramount

There is an urgent welfare need in Southern Thailand to create a safe, well-managed and caring centre for those elephants no longer able to work and which have therefore become a burden to their owner.

A key strategic focus for us in 2018-2020 is to raise funds to help our Thai sister charity to construct a Home of Rest for Elephants in a 16 rai (6.5 acre) plot of land in jungle near Ban Ton Sae, about 12 km from Phuket. The site is ideal for development as a facility for retired elephants (and later for conservation).

1Stage 1 will be to convert for elephant use the land that, up to now, has been used solely to harvest rubber and palm oil. There are two natural pools with wonderful potential for elderly elephants to relax and enjoy a peaceful and stress-free retirement. There will be plenty of grazing, with scope for environmentally enriched activities, and where the elephants can meet and interact with schoolchildren and visitors. The aim is to provide a natural jungle centre where visitors can learn about the Asian elephant in its natural environment, and appreciate its vital role in Thai culture. Guests will be encouraged to interact with these magnificent animals without any fear of abuse or exploitation.  

2Stage 2 will include construction of an Education Centre to explain the importance of the elephant and its place in Thai culture, and the basic philosophy of elephant conservation through breeding.

3Stage 3 envisages the construction of an Elephant Healthcare Centre with specialised services made available to the wider elephant owning community in Phang Nga Province so supporting social and cultural needs in support of Government policy.

In time, STEF also wishes to support the development of one or more conservation units, to promote breeding programmes and long-term conservation.

Other work we wish to support include veterinary research programmes, student projects and other proposals that will benefit the health and welfare of the Asian elephant.

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