A heavy metal chair. A 14+ hour workday parading tourists around. With little time to eat, baking hot conditions, and exhausting hours, no days off this is life 365 days a year for most elephants in South East Asia.
Elephants are forced to live like this because of the tourism industry’s demand for cheap rides and photo ops. The good news is that by changing the demand we can end the abuse. Across the river from The Chai Lai Orchid, 11 elephants live and work. Four of those elephants, including DeeDee, are babies. While they are too small for chair rides now, they will soon grow up and join their friends in their backbreaking toil. It doesn’t have to be this way though. With your help, we can change the tide of tourism in Thailand.
The Chai Lai Orchid family would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity and support for the elephants. In November 2015 we started this endeavor after witnessing the brutality of the industry firsthand. While we have not yet met our goal of 600,000 thb per month to rescue all of the elephants from the neighboring camp, we have had some major victories. We have been overwhelmed by both support – and backlash – toward the project.
We receive (among other attempts to undermine our efforts) death threats from owners of some larger companies who are well-connected in the elephant tourism industry and/or make their money off chair rides. Many feel that our campaign will cause them to lose business.
We retired 3 elephants from camps and they now live in a beautiful ‘elephant retirement home’. They no longer have to work and they have their own waterfall, dedicated caretakers and food. You can visit these elephants at ChaiLaiSisters.com, Thailand’s 1st Karen women owned and operated trekking company! Between our social business and donations we have been able to raise about ½ our target amount, which means we are currently able to rent the elephants for half of the day, during which they have ample time for resting, take plenty of baths in the river to cool off, and only do bareback rides or none at all. We have also been successful raising awareness about ethical tours among elephant owners and mahouts in the area. Some camp owners now prefer to work with our guests because the interactions benefit the elephants and want to retire more elephants.
With your help, we have the opportunity to changes the lives of these elephants forever.
For $9,000 USD a month we can rent the elephants and show the current owner that tourism won’t die without chair rides. We can show him that tourists want, and will pay, for elephants baths and feedings. We aim to create a peaceful home for the elephants where they spend their days grazing in the bamboo forest, cooling down with baths in the river and going for leisurely walks. (You can read the specifics of our mission here). It is our hope that we will be able to raise enough money sustainable retire more elephants and to buy land (we rent) for them to live on. Thank you for your moral and financial support . We will not stop trying to help the elephants you can continue to support us by visiting us in Thailand (and telling your friends too) or simply sharing the story on social media.
If we can reach our goal, our staff will oversee all treatment of the elephants and the mahouts. We can use this small step of caring for DeeDee and her friends to impact the surrounding elephant villages, and maybe one day, elephant treatment throughout Asia. By teaching locals and tourists about humane and ethical treatment for elephants, we can get rid of chair rides and bull hooks for good.
Will you help us change the tide for elephants? DeeDee and her friends need your help!
Funding. Elephants cost a lot money. Any donation you make goes directly towards DeeDee and her friends. Donate online or in person when visiting The Chai Lai Orchid. All donations are tax deductible and donations over $500 USD will receive a free stay with DeeDee and her friends at The Chai Lai Orchid!
Awareness. Tell your family and friends. These elephants might be loud, but they can’t speak our language. Use your voice to spread to word about their plight. Share about DeeDee on social media #DontLetDeeDeeDown #elephants #thailand #chiangmai #socialgood #giveback #chailaiorchid
Tweet at advocates for animal rights and tell them to come meet DeeDee! Let’s encourage them to use their influence to help elephants! And if you happen to be a fan of Ricky Gervais send him our Dear Ricky letter.
Visit. Planning a vacation or know someone who is? Come to Chai Lai Orchid Eco Lodge in northern Thailand and you can meet DeeDee and her friends first hand.
Don’t Let DeeDee Down. DeeDee and her friends say “Thank You!”