We are on the way to Phuket to rescue one of the two Elephants from the Phuket Zoo. We will bring her home with mixed feelings, glad to get the female away but sad to leave the 6 year old boy behind at this time. We have funds enough to only rescue one elephant.
The mahout told us that these two elephants have been together for a long time, since the boy was brought from Northern Thailand as a baby. The female elephant named TangMo, who is 21, adopted him from that time, and they both have been performing in the show together at the Phuket Zoo. TangMo and the young boy named SanMueng have never been apart, and always chained next to one another.
At first, we thought to wait to move them together, but the zoo owner requested that the elephant be moved out as soon as possible. It is quite difficult for us to take one away from the other. But we have 8 new rescues plus this new girl TangMo. They all need chain free shelters, and the boy soon a much larger space.
Since COVID-19, it is a difficult time for both elephant and owner. We have had dozens of elephant owners contacting us to sell their elephants .
Last week when our team went to obtain transport permits for TangMo, we saw a tourist region emptied of hundreds of elephants. They left for home with no future plan. It is a big concern here. It is very difficult for Elephant Nature Park as well. The COVID crisis continues, and, while a host of generous donors came to support not only Elephant Nature Park, but also many elephants across Thailand who suffered from hunger, we still would like to find a way to bring more elephants to a home that they deserve.