Good and bad news from my close friends at Elephanstay! First off, some background… Elephantstay is an elephant rehabilitation and breeding project based in Thailand that operates under the Prakochaban Foundation. Founded by Laithongrein Meepan in 2005, the project is registered as a non-profit organization. The charity is located at the Royal Elephant Kraal, historically a compound where elephants were captured and kept (a privilege bestowed upon the king of Thailand). At the Kraal old elephants are retired from work, and they have one of the largest breeding programs in the world.
At this incredible, unique and life-changing vacation spot, families can immerse themselves in a program staying on-site in an air conditioned bungalow. The program involves living with, caring for and learning about elephants. Designated an elephant for your 3 night stay, your elephant comes to rely on you to take care of him and show him the love he deserves. You learn all the basics of being a mahout, riding, feeding, watering and even bathing elephants in the river. Because of the diversity of activities at the Elephant Kraal you get to experience many unique facets of elephant life and culture. Moreover, by immersing yourself in the program, you directly contribute to preventing the extinction of elephants.
I was due to visit with my family but recent devastating floods have put this entire operation in jeopardy. The charity has been forced to turn away a number of people, and lost out on vital income. It is going to cost a huge amount of money to recover from this setback and damage the floodwater has created.
Yet in the midst of all this, a miracle! Despite all the upheaval, it is not stopping Elephanstay’s conservation efforts. Pang Phootson gave everyone a special gift when she delivered a healthy and strong baby girl on Wednesday 3rd November.
Only a few hours old, mum and baby walked to the safety of the Elephant Kraal where the other mothers and babies are temporarily staying. It was an impressive journey and such an uplifting story. Let’s hope this bodes well for the Kraal.
If you have a dollar or two to spare….. please consider doing what you can to help out and click on the donate button at Elephantstay. Every penny helps!