Elephants in Thailand
"Elephants have always been important to Karen people. Many Karen are animists… and we believe that each person is made up of 37 spirits. If a spirit leaves us, we become sick... and if all 37 leave, then we die. We believe that elephants and humans share many of the same spirits.So what hurts them, hurts us too."
Traditionally, each Karen village would have an elephant. She would help with small jobs which were difficult to do without cars and roads. She would be honoured by the whole community and a dedicated mahout would care for her.
But when the British ruled Myanmar, everything changed for the elephants.
The British wanted to craft many things with the beautiful teak wood from the jungle. So they took as many elephants as they could find and made them carry logs.
Over time, a huge logging industry evolved, and elephants were at the centre of it all. They were treated very badly. centre of it all. They were treated very badly.
When logging was outlawed, Thailand had to decide what to do with all the working elephants, who had been domesticated and could no longer be free to wander in the jungle.
The government is worried about damage to trees and, of course, farmers don’t want elephants to destroy their crops. So most of the elephants have been absorbed into the tourist industry.
Mo Ka Paw one of the elephants we rescued is an example of this. She was born in a Karen village to a domestic elephant, but the owner couldn’t afford to feed her…
So he rented her to a thai company which offered tourist rides. She started work when she was two years old.
It was Nukul’s village she was born in. Nukul grew up knowing her.
So when Mo Ka Paw’s health suddenly started to decline, everyone was very worried. The owner was heartbroken ... he searched for a good camp that would look after her, not make her wear a chair. He couldn’t find one though.
She started to go blind and deaf. It was a bad situation.
That’s when we, Chai Lai Sisters, decided to do something about it. And brought her to live with us. Now she can relax and enjoy life.
If you want to read more about Thai elephants check out this link
Since Thailand is a Buddhist country, elephants are portrayed as sacred animals from their special symbolism in the practice of Buddhism. White elephants in Thai society also represent wealth and power because of their past association with the Thai royals.... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephants_in_Thailand
Chai Lai Sisters runs an eco-lodge deep in the jungle. It is a safe space for elephants as well as for the women who work there. We rescued Mo Ka Paw and now that she lives with us, she has food, rest and lots of love. Elephants are alive, they have the right to be happy too.
We’re doing our best for the few elephants we have opened our home to. Even though it is difficult, we want to grow our work and help more elephants. To the raise the money to care for elephants we started a tour company to people can give back by traveling.to. Even though it is difficult, we want to grow our work and help more elephants. To the raise the money to care for elephants we started a tour company to people can give back by traveling.