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Action Change
Action Change
Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand

Protecting Rescued Elephants in Thailand

Why we need your help

Sponsor an Elephant to live in a forest in Thailand


This project enables elephants and their Mahouts to live back in their home community in Huay Pakoot, a Karen community in Northern Thailand. This offers an alternative livelihood away from working in tourist camps and street begging. Here, these elephants can return to their natural habitat - the forest - and the Mahouts to their families. The GVI Trust helps to improve livelihoods and job opportunities for community members.


With an ever-dwindling wild population of Asian Elephants in Thailand, prospects for this endangered species are bleak. So-called 'domesticated' elephants work in tourist camps or do street-begging to provide an income for the family that owns them. This reduces their life expectancy, diminishes their cultural importance and puts them in inhumane conditions. With tourism being an integral part of Thailand's economy, the challenge now is to change the model to better the lives of these elephants.


The eco-tourism model (also known as ethical tourism) puts the welfare of the elephant at its core. For an elephant, living in the forest has a tremendous impact on its psychological and physical health. This project aims to host a sustainable population of elephants. With a strict hands-off, purely-observational methodology that enables the study of their behaviour and education of the local community on the importance of their conservation, the aim is to provide a solution that benefits both.

Long-Term Impact

This sustainable eco-tourism model will provide an alternative livelihood for elephants, mahouts and families for future generations. Long-term, by educating the local community about the project, they will be able to take ownership of it, without outside influence. In addition, by proving the effectiveness of this model, the aim is to encourage its wider adoption in Thailand and thereby be an agent of change within the industry.

[b]Meet our Elephants[/b]


Meet Lulu the baby of our GVI family at just 8 years old. Named after a famous Thai comedian, Lulu lives up to her name and is always fun to hike with. She shows lots of interesting behaviour associated with her young age. She chooses to walk the forest with her partner in crime, Dee Dee who is always patient with Lulu’s inquisitiveness. Even when she steals food out of his mouth!

For the first three years of her life, Lulu lived in a tourist camp before heading home to Huay Pakoot to live with her mum Kah Moon, dad Bulouwan and grandmother Khum Suk. Before joining the GVI project, Lulu had never lived in the forest before, watching her play and forage naturally is a beautiful sight. Her mahout, Thanapol keeps a careful eye on her and she is often his muse for many drawings and paintings. Her abundant baby hair, small tushes and playful nature make her a firm favourite for many volunteers and staff.

[b]Khum Suk[/b]

Meet Khum Suk, the matriarch and oldest of our GVI ele’ family at the impressive age of 67. Whilst her name means “happiness” she can be set in her knowledgeable ways and certainly lets her mahout, Wynn know when she doesn’t want to do something!

Khum Suk has lived a long life however many of those years have unfortunately not been spent in the forest that she clearly enjoys. In her early life she worked in the Burmese logging industry working long hours moving timber. When the trade became illegal, she moved to a tourist camp in Thailand to work as a riding elephant before coming to the project in 2014. In the past she also built some of the houses here in the village of Huay Pakoot with the help of Manit (Old Chief).

She is now able to retire in peace back in her forest home with her two daughters, Kah Moon and Thong Kam and granddaughter Lulu. Watching her move around the forest with surprising grace and interact with her daughter Kah Moon is a joy.

[b]Sah Jah[/b]

Meet Sah Jah our 44 year old gentle giant. Sah Jah, who was originally called Ampai unfortunately lost two calves due to lack of milk. A shaman decided to change her name from Ampai to Sah Jah, meaning “truth”, to give her a good luck blessing. Shortly after, Sah Jah gave birth to a healthy Mario, who is now growing into a handsome bull.

Before coming to the project, Sah Jah worked as a logging elephant even carrying the logs to build her owners’ house. She was then moved to a tourist camp for riding once the logging trade was abolished, walking from Huay Pakoot to Chiang Mai in seven nights.

In 2015, Sah Jah returned home to Huay Pakoot, her birthplace to be with her son, Mario in a larger herd. She now helps to raise Khum Suk’s grandchildren along with her own son under the watchful eye of her mahout Sombat. Sah Jah is one of GVI’s more vocal elephants and is always ready with a trumpet or rumble to the warn the younger ones.


raised towards 70,000.00 target


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 This campaign is now closed, and no longer accepting donations.


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Elephant Exercise-athon

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Litter Pick for Lah Lah

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57km Walk to Mae Chaem


Total raised so far


Total plus Gift Aid 60,516.75

Direct donations


Raised offline 56,708.00

Fundraising pages


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