First elephants arrive at new the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
Madee, a 60-year-old female elephant originally from a logging camp in Narathiwat, along with Kannika, a 32-year-old female originally from Surin province, arrived at the reserve, located on 70 rai near the Khao Phra Thaew Wildlife Sanctuary in Thalang, couple of months ago. Madee spent most of her life working in the logging industry near the Thai Malay border, but was moved to Phuket in 2009 to start providing jungle trek tours to tourists. Kannika, although only middle-aged in elephant terms, has already spent more than 20 years in Phuket working in the tourism industry.
In an interview with the Phuket News Louise Rogerson, Project Director of the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, explained that the sanctuary hopes and plans to rescue more elephants very soon and that the park is no longer called Elephant Nature Park Phuket, as initially proposed when work on the sanctuary began in back in May. “We changed the name so it would be easier for tourists to remember and also so it would be easier to find on Google. The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary remains a partnership between Lek Chailert, founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, myself as founder of EARS Asia, and Mr Montree Todtan.” Ms Rogerson continued, “Kannika and Madee both used to be at my old camp, but it is time for them to retire now so we are happy to see them arrive at The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary”.
The ENP group operates much-respected elephant welfare reserves in Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Surin and Cambodia, and Ms Lek Chailert has become a globally respected figure for her many decades of work dedicated to saving and protecting elephants. Montree Todtan, former owner of At Hill Adventure Park in Chalong but now CEO of the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary explained that he has donated the 70 rai of land for the park to be built and hopes that this can be expanded to 100 rai over time. “Now, I am using my own funds to take care of the elephants and to pay for the park’s construction. Some of the budget has also been donated by Louise’s friends, who love elephants. The investment will be used to build four shelters for the elephants” Mr Montree continued. “We expect the park to become home to about 20 to 30 elephants. We have to pay for older elephants, but if any owners would like to donate their elephants to us, it would be our pleasure to take care of them. We expect the sanctuary to become a place where older and injured elephants can be retired,” he said. Mr Montree added, “The opening of the sanctuary has been delayed from this month as initially proposed because some parts have yet to be completed, such as the visitors centre, which will be able to accommodate about 40 visitors at any one time. Heavy rain is the main reason for the delay in construction, and it has also affected the delivery of construction materials to where they are needed in the park,” he said. More on the sanctuary here - https://www.facebook.com/phuketelephantsanctuary/