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October 2016: Monthly Achievement Report: Another Elephant Comes Home!

By Danielle Reily 2 years ago


To increase and promote ethical elephant tourism. To create a viable self-sustaining eco-tourism programme for the village. Improve standards of living and job opportunities for the people of Huay Pakoot. Improve sustainable natural resource management in the Huay Pakkoot area.

Don and Charlie back home in the forests of Huay Pakkoot.

GVI Chiang Mai works with the local community of Huay Pakoot to help bring their captive elephants back to the forest. Asian elephant in Thailand and hugely affected by deforestation and habitat degradation meaning that there is very little land for elephants to be released back in to the wild. GVI Chiang Mai is fortunate to partner with the community of Huay Pakkoot who allows the elephants to live in a semi-wild environment in the forest in the surrounding area.                                               

The majority of our elephants have been a part of the GVI herd for over 4 years now and we work very hard with the current elephant owners and mahouts to ensure that they understand why it’s imperative to their elephant’s well-being to allow them live in their natural habitat. Our dedication to ethical elephant tourism is also why GVI is approached by new owners to take their elephants from the tourist camps and return them to the forest.

At the beginning of October, we were approached by Don, nephew to our mahout Patti Sayee (Thong Dee’s mahout) who has been with the GVI project since it started in 2010. We were asked if it would be possible for their male elephant, Charlie, to join our GVI herd. Due to the fact the GVI Trust* funds 3 of our elephants, we are able to bring more elephants, like Charlie, back to the forest.

Charlie enjoying a natural diet back in the forest!

Charlie is a beautiful 9-year-old male who was born in a camp in Northern Thailand and used to spend his days painting pictures for visiting tourists. Charlie is grandson to Thong Dee and has never lived in a forest before, having spent his whole life in the camp. His mahout, Don, is working very hard to help Charlie adjust to an environment he should be naturally suited to, but has never experienced before. He is slowly being introduced to the forest and learning which foods are best for him and the most delicious! Previously, Charlie would have been fed by his mahout in the camp, so has never had the opportunity to explore the forest and feed for himself, something which is vital to an elephant’s well-being.  Captive elephants rarely get the opportunity to choose who they want to socialize with, however once Charlie has adjusted to the forest and feels confident, he will join the other elephants and hopefully spend some time with his grandmother, Thong Dee!