Karen’s tribe elephants affected by
COVID-19 crisis face starvation
Due to increasing habitat loss, most Asian elephants have to live in captivity and depend on tourism to eat. COVID-19 travel restrictions have caused many elephant camps to close due to booking cancellations.
Since the recent implementation of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 virus, many elephants have become homeless along with their caretakers. Consequently, they have no means to buy food for animals in their charge, as a single elephant could eat up to 200 Kilos of food per day.
The Chai Lai Orchid, an eco-lodge and home for rescued elephants in the district of Mae Wang in Chiang Mai has set up a fundraiser on Weeboon.com, exclusively for elephants owned by Karen’s tribe in this situation. With all of their booking being canceled, mahouts and their elephants find themselves having to walk for between 1 to 3 days back to their villages. These journeys are often dangerous and challenging as they have to avoid traffic, dehydration, overheating, and tragically in some cases, starvation.
Chai Lai Orchid community members, Chayanin (Charlie) Patchimtassanakal and Jittarin (Tiger) Patchimtassanakal, have volunteered to facilitate this project at no cost to ensure 100% of donations go to the food for the elephants. The fundraiser was created at the very end of March with an initial goal of 300,000 Baht. As of May 25, 2020, the fund was sitting at 126,679 Baht. Donations were made by 62 individuals. As the pandemic continues, the elephants still need support to survive.
Quoc Nguyen, CEO and Co-Founder of Weeboon states – “The Thai elephant is the official national animal of Thailand, and the pandemic is affecting them considerably, as well as the mahouts. We are glad that Chai Lai Orchid chose Weeboon.com to support them in these unprecedented times.”
Alexa Pham, Founder of Chai Lai Orchid, an eco-tourism project in Chiang Mai mentioned – “When the coronavirus pandemic started we saw hundreds of elephants being forced out onto the streets without jobs or food, which was heartbreaking. We immediately knew that we had to do something to help them. So we launched our fundraiser in April…. and soon after posting, support came flooding in. Despite the challenges everyone is facing, so many people came through, happy to help feed the elephants”
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