Habitat destruction is the most pressing issue facing the Asian elephant population: a 2011 study by Conservation International listed the Indo – Burma Forest Hotspot, which includes Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Burma, as the most threatened in the world. By their estimate, only five percent of these irreplaceable Southeast Asian jungles remain intact.
Wild elephants, whose family groups typically need over ten thousand acres of habitat to survive, are suffering in the face of logging and farming interests. Save Elephant Foundation is committed to stemming this destruction through working with volunteer groups, local farmers, government agencies, and temples with forest restoration.
The support of local monks has been invaluable to our reforestation projects. Because Thai culture holds Buddhist monks in the highest regard, their orange clothes and prayers are considered sacred. Monks have aided our effort by blessing and donating thousands of these special clothes, which are then tied around trees and ensure the forests survival.
In Thai culture, to cut a tree protected by the holy cloth would be to invite several lifetimes of bad karma. That’s a risk few people, even those in the illegal logging industry, would dare to take.
By restoring lost habitat, we increase our capacity to rescue more elephants from abusive situations and heal the fragmented range of wild populations.
Save Elephant Foundation hopes to one day release rehabilitated elephants from our projects back into their natural habitat, where they can join a recovered wild population roaming the jungle freely. Wild and rescued elephants coexisting in preserved jungle environments: a dream we are building towards every day.