Written by Sofia Eugeniou
Amongst the millions of individuals currently unemployed in Thailand due to the Covid-19 outbreak are elephants, dependent on eco-tourism to keep them clean, protected, and fed.
The situation is quite critical. London-based World Animal Protection estimates around 2,000 non-wild elephants are at risk of starvation because their keepers are unable to care for them during the pandemic.
With a sudden vacuum of local and international visitors keeping the commercial camps and sanctuaries alive and running, funding for elephant upkeep has run dry.
Finding a solution to the problem The Save Elephant foundation, located in the northern province of Chiang Mai, advocates the safe return of elephants to their authentic homes where it is safe and sensible to do so.
These sanctuaries have sent more than 100 trunked-beauties on trips as far as 95 miles back to their natural habitats.
For example, the foundation helps elephants set up shop in eco-friendly communities across Thailand, where villagers already live a sustainable lifestyle in harmony with wildlife and nature.
The foundation also supports fundraising appeals to feed remaining animals still located at the tourist parks.
In the north-eastern province of Surin, famous for its annual elephant festival, hundreds of elephants have also been guided home. The province’s Tha Tum district welcomed around 40 elephants during April.