Elephants living and working in Thailand’s tourism industry are among the millions unemployed due to Covid-19 outbreak and now they have been told to pack their trunks and head home.
With drastic drop in numbers of foreign visitors, commercial elephant camps and sanctuaries lack of funds for their upkeep and have sent more than 100 of the animals travelled as far as 150 kilometres back to their homes.
“At first I thought the situation would be back to normal within a month or two. At the end of April, I lost all hope,” one of the owner of commercial elephant camps and santuaries, Mr Serichevee said.
He and his wife agreed to let their elephants returned to their natural habitat because they could no longer shoulder the monthly expenses which is close to 200,000 baht (RM41,000) for rental of land and facilities, salaries for handlers and foods.
Elephants eat as much as 300 kg of grass and vegetables a day.
“These elephants have not had a chance to return home for 20 years. They seem to be very happy when arriving home, they make their happy noises, they run to the creek near the village and have fun along with our children,” Mr Serichevee said.
The Save Elephant Foundation in the northern province of Chiang Mai has been promoting the elephants’ return to the greener pastures of home.
The foundation supports fundraising appeals to feed animals still housed at tourist parks but believes it is good for them to return to their natural habitat where they can be more self-sufficient and they already home more than hundreds elephants.
“We don’t know when Covid-19 will go away, so this is our task, to help feed the elephants that were laid off because of the outbreak,” said Save Elephant founder Saengduean Chailert.
Although, Mr Elephant loss his job but somehow i think this is a piece of good news, at least they can go back to their natural habitat!
Source : ABC News