Increasing Habitat For Asian Elephants in Thailand
Themes: Animal Conservation
Grant Recipient: Elephant Valley Thailand
Elephant Valley is an organization that began with the creation of an almost 7,000-acre elephant sanctuary in Cambodia over a decade ago and focuses on elephant conservation, rehabilitation, and habitat reforestation in South East Asia.
Currently, EVT is working to expand elephant habitat in Thailand–no easy feat, as healthy elephants require a LOT of space! Projects include removing refuse, soil rehabilitation, reforestation, and the introduction of the specific flora that elephants need in their environment including wild grasses, banana trees, and bamboo groves.
1. Elephant Valley Thailand is a true elephant sanctuary: this means that visitors may not ride, bathe, or even approach the elephants that live there. This is rare in Thailand, where elephant tourism is largely unregulated and conditions for elephants are often unhealthy.
2. Wild Asian elephants face relentless destruction of their habitat in all 13 range countries in which they currently are found. Their territory has shrunk by 95%, a major cause in reducing the population to fewer than 50,000 animals – pushing them ever closer to extinction.
In 2016, Elephant Valley Thailand went to work on 40 acres of land in Chiang Mai with the goal of transforming a not-so-nice-for-elephants location into an elephant sanctuary. After removing several decades' worth of refuse accumulated from the parcel's days as an industrial agricultural site (concrete, nails, rebar, and other refuse), the acreage was slowly transformed through hard work into a lush, natural haven for these giant creatures. EVT is committed to providing education and a true sanctuary experiences so that people can witness the elephants in their natural habitat
EVT is working to expand their sanctuary, as well as work with the Thai government to reach sustainable solutions to the environmental challenges that elephants face, such as logging. Elephant Valley is working toward rehabilitation and eventually reintroducing elephants into the wild.