Siam Safari was the first company to start elephant trekking in Phuket in 1994. Having lived and worked with elephants since then we have encountered many problems concerning good health care, welfare and the conservation of these truly amazing but endangered animals.
We believe that funds raised from tourists visiting our camps, donated to help elephant conservation in Thailand can make a difference to the future survival of the Thai Elephant.
You can visit our elephant camp by joining our tours. During our tours you will meet our Asian Elephants; you can touch them, feed them, go trekking on them and realize how lucky we are to be able to encounter them. If you want your children and grandchildren to be able to experience elephants then we must take action to help save them now.
We are collecting money at our Elephant camp in Phuket. Your donation will be used to help Thai elephants in two ways.
1) Help pay for health checkups of all the elephants on Phuket Island. Vets from the Elephant Hospital in northern Thailand will come to Phuket to check all elephants across the island at least two times a year. Money is needed for medicine for the elephants, transport, accommodation and on-going treatments.
2) The Elephant Hospital in Lampang northern Thailand takes care of injured, sick and old elephants. There are over 30 elephants in the hospital at the moment. The cost of taking care of these elephants is high and they do a very good job on the limited budget that they have. Donations will be sent to the hospital on a regular basis so they can take better care of the elephants already there and they can help to save more elephant lives in the future.
It is hoped in the future sufficient funds can be raised to have a mobile elephant clinic check all the elephants here in southern Thailand which number over 400 in total.
Elephant Health Check.
Every year our Elephants are checked by expert Elephant Vets from Lampang and Bangkok, Thailand. This is a free service for all working Elephants, however a donation is always presented from Siam Safari to help with the costs of such an expensive operation.
Click here to see pictures of the latest check-up of Siam Safari's Elephants in Phuket.
What are the problems facing Thailand's Elephants?
Elephant's today face ever increasing pressure from the world and one of nature's most majestic and intelligent creatures is on the verge of extinction. We must stand up and take notice of their plight today.
Only around 3000 elephants remain in Thailand and when comparing this figure to 100,000 elephants in 1900 you can understand why we are so concerned. In the whole of Southeast Asia there are between 25,000 and 30,000 individuals. Due to this fact the International Union for Conservation has classed the species as 'Endangered'. Around 20 percent of the human populations live either in or near Asian Elephant habitat which brings constant problems. Reduction and fragmentation of the forest habitat is constricting elephants to small numbers that cannot survive in the long term. Plus this puts elephants in direct conflict with humans, resulting in destroyed crops and elephant attacks. This conflict has seriously affected many local peoples view of the elephant.
In many cases the wrong people are taking care of these animals!
With the ban in logging in Thailand in 1989 many Elephants were left with a problem. Whilst they and their handlers were rightly prevented from destroying the Asian Elephants natural habitat (the amazing forests of Thailand) once the ban was implemented there were many "unemployed" elephants. With a huge number involved in the logging business this was disastrous for the elephant population; they had to look elsewhere for work (in the rubber plantations or illegally begging in the streets of large cities such as Bangkok).
Today elephants are increasingly used in the tourism industry. Many of the people who look after these animals are not properly trained and don't have the skill required to work with the elephants. In some cases this can lead to the use of violent force to control the animal. This is not necessary. They are also over worked and exploited and do not receive the right amount or kind of food, water and medicine.
It is estimated that of the 3000 remaining elephants in Thailand around 2000 of these are in captivity. We must make sure that this captive population does not reduce in number due to mishandling. A huge amount of genetic material is locked up in this population and it must be preserved and taken care of.
Here at Siam Safari we only employ trained Karen Mahouts to take care of our elephants and in many cases these men have been with the animal for most of their lives. The Karen are regarded as the best handlers of elephants due to their relaxed temperament. Their culture includes hundreds of years of experience working with and training elephants.
Lack of research
Few Universities or scientists have enough funding to undertake research on elephants due to the huge costs involved. Much more information and research is required to get a better understanding of elephants both in captivity and in the wild. The understanding of elephants in captivity is extremely important so we can understand how elephants can fit into the modern world which if continues to be destroyed at the current rate will see less and less wild areas and more people.
Problems such as poaching and habitat loss are problems brought about through human influence. Still today the demand for ivory is extremely high and the slaughter of these amazing animals is still a huge threat to their existence.
Tourism provides one of the few legal ways elephants and their mahouts can make a living in Thailand. With around three quarters of the Thai elephant population in captivity or working in tourism we believe (if handled correctly) that tourism can help provide a role for today's captive elephants. With visitors taking part in our treks they are also helping to preserve the captive population of Elephants in Thailand. When you visit us please don't feel guilty about riding our elephants; they are well taken care of and you are providing both them and their mahout a lively hood which is much better than begging on the streets of Bangkok or other touristic areas, which many elephants are still forced to do!
Our young elephants help other elephants by painting beautiful elephant art!
You can buy these unique pieces of art from our elephant camp in Phuket. A percentage from every painting will go directly to elephant conservation work. Elephant painting makes a great souvenir and at the same time you get to help Asian elephants in Thailand.
Let’s help save the Asian Elephant!