Operation- Bring Mae Mor Home

Written by Em. Posted in bees blog

On March 13th we launched Operation – Bring Mae Mor Home and on the 27th March we did just that!!!

Mae Mor working in the camp

Mae Mor working in the camp in Mae Taeng

Burm and I found Mae Mor 4 years ago living in appalling conditions. We set out on a mission to bring her home to BEES.

It took all this time to track down the owner as the camp managers were not forthcoming with the information. We finally found the owner earlier this year, we went to check on Mae Mor and she had deteriorated to the point where the camp could not work her, so they just chained her in the hot sun all day. Most recently, she had been paired with an inexperienced, teenaged Burmese mahout that has no background working with elephants and was clearly scared of her, as a result he used weapons to protect himself. This is all too common in camps throughout Asia, in time with our efforts we hope that we can also improve the training and general welfare of the mahouts.

Mae Mor preparing to leave the camp

Mae Mor preparing to leave the camp

We are simply horrified by the wounds covering her body, inflicted by what we can only presume are nails, although the mahout was also seen carrying an axe. We approached Mae Mor’s owners to discuss what their intentions would be with the money if we were to negotiate a price for Mae Mor’s permanent retirement at BEES. The owners told us that they are teachers and simply do not have time to look after an elephant, they would like the funds to better their own livelihoods. They felt sad for her and said that they would be honoured if we could take her to retirement, where she would no longer work and could receive the care she needs. The BEES team immediately swung in to action and started Operation – Bring Mae Mor Home, we paid a deposit to the owner and we started fundraising and making plans for her big move.

Unfortunately, funds only trickled in and we felt that time was running out, Mae Mor was deteriorating and she needed us now. She had lost the sparkle in her eyes, her painful body was covered in wounds and large abscesses. We couldn’t wait any longer, so we had to use project funds that are for the general daily upkeep for the sanctuary to Bring Mae Mor Home to BEES. We hope that with your help we can replenish these funds so we can continue to provide Mae Mor with medical treatments and look after the elephants and animals at BEES. Please consider making a donation via Simply Giving – Click Here.

 

Mae Mor's Owner Khun Nipon hands us Mae Mor's Paperwork after final payment was made.

Mae Mor’s Owner Khun Nipon hands us Mae Mor’s Paperwork after final payment was made.

 On Monday 27th March we set out early to make the remainder of the payment to the owners and finalize paperwork which included transfer of ownership documentation and livestock transport clearances. When we arrived at the camp we found that Mae Mor had been moved into the shade of a small forested area, her owners concerned for her welfare had told the camp to move her immediately to shade right after we had expressed our concerns to them. They had not been able to visit Mae Mor for quite some time and had no idea of the state she was in. Mae Mor was walked down to the river where her young Burmese mahout gave her a bath, pulling her ankle bracelet that had spikes digging into her leg to make her come.

Mae Mor having a bath before her big move, she had a spiked ankle bracelet on that was used to guide her

Mae Mor having a bath before her big move to BEES, she had a spiked ankle bracelet on that was used to guide her

The spiked bracelet used to guide her in the camp

The spiked bracelet used to guide her in the camp

 

We fed her yummy treats, the owners gave her a farewell blessing and banana’s they had brought from their village to say their Goodbyes, they had smiles on their face to see her going to retirement, but also tears in their eyes. Mae Mor was loaded on to the truck around 4pm and set off for the district livestock office where the vets from Thai Elephant Conservation Centre hospital met us and together with the Livestock department gave a health check and cleared her for the journey. Mae Mor’s age is uncertain but she is believed to be in her late 60′s, possibly early 70s.

It was a long journey home. Elephants cannot be transported through the national park, our normal route, because the roads are too narrow and windy. We were forced to travel around the Doi Inthanon mountain which takes 2.5 hours longer. She arrived to BEES in the late evening where she walked happily off the truck and down the driveway to her new “home”.

Mae Mor heading home to BEES

Mae Mor heading home to BEES

Mae Mor spent the first day in the grass fields recovering from the big journey, no more spiked ankle bracelet and off the chain, she was very anxious, she enjoyed being in the fields alone, in the afternoon we used yummy treats like watermelon, banana, chopped up pumpkin and vitamin packed horse pellets to get her to the medical shelter and night enclosure. Mae Mor is still very anxious and we are slowly working to treat her and get her used to her new surroundings. She is in a lot of pain with her abscesses and on the truck ride home she could barely put her tail down, it seemed as though she couldn’t bare it rubbing on any of the support beams, she didn’t want it to touch anything. We had noticed a small wound there earlier but when we stopped to check her over, we soon realized it was another large abscess across the tail bone where it meets the base of the spine, it had erupted. Seeing Mae Mor in so much pain is heartbreaking, she is reluctant to explore and she seems quite frightened of people, with good reason as it seems humans have so badly damaged her, we have a lot of work to do to regain her trust.

Her tail abscess drainage point

Her tail abscess, you can see the wound/ drainage point

 Thong Dee has so graciously allowed Mae Mor to stay in her night enclosure, which is next to the medical shelter, while Mae Mor receives treatment and gets used to her new life here.

 Mae Mor was bought by the family about 25 years ago and worked as a logging and farming elephant up until about 10 years ago when she was moved to work in tourism, she has stayed in Mae Taeng area, notorious for its many elephant camps since. Her owners Khun Nipon and his wife, and brother are happy to see her retired.

 

Herbal medicine to help relieve pain, swelling and draw out the puss on Mae Mor's abscess covered body

Herbal medicine to help relieve pain, swelling and draw out the puss on Mae Mor’s abscess covered body

Mae Mor's Abcsess in her face

Mae Mor’s Abcsess in her face which is one of many on her body, receiving treatment with herbal compress and iodine flushes

We will take it at her pace and hope that she will come out of her shell and learn to trust us.  She has not yet shown interest in the other elephants and they haven’t yet shown interest in her.

Mae Mor enjoys her shredded food

Mae Mor enjoys her shredded food. Mae Mor has poor digestion so we are making changes to her diet so she can pass her food easier.

Thank you all for your kind donations and support that helped us bring Mae Mor here, we still have a way to go to replenish the funds that we borrowed from the project to bring her home.

Please consider making a donation via Simply Giving:

https://simplygiving.com/Appeal/Operation_Bring_Mae_Mor_Home

OR Via Bank Transfer to the BEES Elephant Foundation Bank (Please PM us so we can be sure to issue a receipt once things have settled down for Mae Mor)

Donate via Bank Transfer:

KASIKORN BANK
ACCT NAME: BEES ELEPHANT FOUNDATION
ACCT #: 006 3 31743 8
SWIFT CODE: KASITHBK
LOCATION: 45 Moo 4 Charoenniran , Amphur Maechaem, Tambon Chang Keung, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50270

 received_10155268868922578

Together we can really achieve amazing things, Thank you for helping us Bring Mae Mor home!

Warm Trumpets and Grumbles of Thanks,

Emily, Burm and all of the BEES Team x

 

 

 

 

A Note From Emily – ‘BEES need your help to go chain free for the elephants at BEES!’

Written by Em. Posted in bees blog

Slowly, but surely we can make a difference! Patience, Passion, Compassion and Commitment to love, respect and protect our natural world and all that’s in it.

We are well into 2016 and have been working away on the project taking things day by day, week by week. Running a sanctuary isn’t easy and we face many struggles, have many tears of happiness and sadness, but we continue to do what we do because we want to see positive change.

A very old and tired trekking elephant. Note: This is not taken at BEES and was taken in a camp in Chiang Mai

A very old and tired trekking elephant. Note: This is not taken at BEES and was taken in a camp in Chiang Mai. BEES work tirelessly to educate and bring an end to the abuse and exploitation of these gentle giants.

Since establishing BEES in 2011 and retiring our first elephants in 2012 we have been working away building the project and facilities, spreading the word and trying to make a positive difference for the elephants, animals and community. It is our dream to see an end to the exploitation and abuse of elephants and animals in Thailand, the captive elephant situation is extremely complex and cannot be fixed overnight, step by step we work to improve welfare and work towards positive change.  With your help, through donations, volunteering with us and by spreading the word, we have been able to provide a home and refuge to many animals and help support 3 elephants to live in a more natural setting.

We believe that in order to improve welfare for elephants we also need to teach locals to have love and respect for all animals and the environment they live in.

 

Tree planting on the Mae Tan Temple land with the Forestry Department and the Local Government Education Department

At BEES we run community education programs e.g. English teaching, tree planting and environmental awareness. Here we had a Tree planting day with the local community and members of the Forestry Department and the Local Government Education Department We believe EDUCATION is the key!

 

For those of you who recently began following BEES we currently run a small community based elephant retirement and animal rescue and rehabilitation project, have 18 rescued dogs, over 30 rescued cats, run sterilization programs and community based animal support programs and have three retired elephants in our care, 2 of these elephants BEES own Mae Kam and Thong Dee and were purchased from owners who have now retired themselves, the third Elephant Mae Jumpee is rented from her owners. Where we are unable to buy elephants we provide an alternative income to owners (rent) so that the owners can have a much needed income to provide for their families and the elephants can receive rest care and hopefully long term retirement in a more natural setting free from work and abuse WIN- WIN.

BEES work to bring an end to further trade and refuse to take part in the purchase of an elephant if the funds will be used to replace the elephant with a younger stronger elephant, that’s why in some cases we rent the elephants to work with the owners and encourage better care for their elephants.  

SONY DSC

Rescued pup Mollie was badly beaten and has needed hydro therapy to help with her rehabilitation. Since her rescue over 3 years ago now, Mollie has learnt to take small steps and has improved greatly.

Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee have been best friends since day one of meeting after retiring at BEES. Mae Kam was retired to BEES initially under contract on the 31st May 2012, since her retirement we have been able to permanently secure Mae Kam with the help of many amazing donors across the globe, Mae Kam is now a permanent resident at BEES and her owners are now semi-retired and run their own tomato farm, 2.5 months after Mae Kam’s retirement to BEES we were able to secure an agreement with Mae Jumpee’s owners to allow her to retire at BEES too. The initial contract for Mae Jumpee being 1 year, near 4 years later and Mae Jumpee continues to thrive and spend her days in sanctuary after meeting Mae Kam on the 16th August and bonding with her instantly. These two elephants are inseparable and it’s so rewarding to see them together after long, hard working lives to be able to interact freely, to graze together, explore the forest together, bath together and do everything they want together.  This year will be their 4 year anniversary of friendship and retirement. This for us is a huge achievement as when we started BEES we had no idea where it would take us, we just dreamed of creating a safe and natural home for elephants. Taking the first steps to retire them from work and remove the trekking baskets and allow them to live as naturally as possible and roam freely in the day time was a dream come true in itself, but one thing that has been stopping us from reaching the ultimate goal of no more chains completely and no longer having to secure them in the evenings has been lack of funding and support, it’s taken years to get to where we are today and we have always wanted to get rid of the chains and with your help we believe we can reach this goal and together achieve another great step for the elephants. We started the fundraiser to build the chain free elephant night enclosures in November 2015 and still have a long way to go, with your help we can reach our goal!

Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee enjoy a feast to celebrate Mae Jumpees 1 year at BEES

Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee bonded from day 1 – True love and friendship

Currently the elephants spend their days roaming freely and in the evenings have to be secured by a single length chain to keep them safe and stop them from wandering onto nearby farms and raiding crops in the dark. Locals will not hesitate to cause harm to the elephants if their crops and livelihoods are at stake. Unfortunately, captive elephants need to be kept in a safe and secured area to some degree in order to protect them. That’s why we wish to build chain free night enclosures with their own ponds and shelter to keep them safe and as comfortable in the evenings and continue to free them in the forest during the day,  giving them 24 hour freedom.

In all honesty elephants shouldn’t be in captivity period, but unfortunately due to human need and greed we now have to find ways to manage the captive populations and do the best we can to put their welfare first.  

In November 2014 Thong Dee was retired alongside her best friend Boon Yuen – The Golden Girls, they had spent the last 30 years working together in tourism after their owner bought them from the brutal logging industry.  There owner Poor Tawee worked long hard days with them and when they were ill camped out under the stars to nurse them back to health. In the last few years before he retired them to BEES, he noticed them both deteriorating in health and longed for a better life for them. When his father passed suddenly in October 2014 he was faced with a horrible decision to leave his girls and go to care for his mother who lived several hours away, knowing Thong Dee and Boon Yuen were too old to make the journey across the country to his Mothers town, he had to make the decision to retire them. He had found out about BEES through friends of Mae Jumpees family and felt that BEES would be the most appropriate solution. He was not ready to say good bye completely so it was originally agreed that BEES would pay him a monthly income to support his family while his elephants got to spend their days free from work interacting, socializing, grazing and just doing what elephants do best.

20150430_151011 (2)

The Golden Girls Thong Dee and Boon Yuen enjoy specially made treats

He cried when he left his Golden Girls to move to be with his mother and he returned to help nurse them back to heealth when they were sick.  On the 29th July 2015 Boon Yuen closed her eyes for the last time after struggling with very poor digestion for many years. We had made great changes to her diet and she looked the best she had ever looked since arriving at BEES. The day Boon Yuen passed, she was surrounded by so many that loved her, she left behind her grieving friend Thong Dee and a devastated owner Poor Tawee. Poor Tawee instantly decided that Thong Dee should never leave BEES and the burial place of her best friend Boon Yuen, he asked us if we would buy Thong Dee from him so that he could establish an organic Lemon and Lime farm in his mother’s home town and retire there, while Thong Dee enjoyed her retirement and live out her days in a happy, safe environment.

 

SONY DSC

29th July 2015 – As the rain drops fell darling Boon Yuen closed her eyes for the last time, surrounded by many that loved her in her sanctuary. With every breath that we take we strive to give the best we can to the elephants, losing Boon Yuen was by far one of the hardest days yet, we know we will have many more days like this to come and in Boon Yuens memory and all the elephants that have been lost we will continue to fight through the hard times and work to make a positive difference.

Losing Boon Yuen was one of the biggest challenges we have ever faced, we were not ready to say good bye and miss her so much every day, we know we cannot give up because the sparkle we saw in her eyes when she roamed with her best friend without a worry in the world, makes us want to push forward with each breath that we take and strive to give the best that we can to the elephants in our care and work to provide many more elephants with the best life possible.

We believe that no animal should suffer, that no animal should be deprived of their natural abilities and that all animals deserve the right to live in peace and harmony, loved, respected and free from fear and suffering.

We cannot continue our important work without your help and support, we have big dreams and can only achieve great things with your support.

A very pretty Mae Kam reaching for some juicy green vines

Out on a daily forest walk the very pretty Mae Kam reaching for some juicy green vines in the forest not to far away her best friend Maee Jumpee searches out delicious greens the forest has to offer.

Please friends, spread the word, donate, follow our posts and help us reach our fundraising goal so we can achieve this next step and continue to help work to provide the best care we can for the elephants:

Donate Via our Just Giving Campaign:

http://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/burm-and-emilys-elephant-sanctuary/no-more-chains

Donate via PayPal: fundus@bafa.org.au or visit www.bafa.org.au and click donate now.

Please Note:  This fundraising campaign is being run through BEES Animal Foundation Australia, the Australian support for BEES.

Trumpets, Rumbles and Grumbles of Thanks for your support.

Emily and The BEES Team x

Last Blog post of 2015 – Happy New Year Friends of BEES

Written by Em. Posted in bees blog

Happy New Year from The BEES Team!

As 2015 comes to a close, we would like to take a moment to look back on what a year it has been here at BEES!

We started off the year ready for whatever 2015 may hold, we are always ready to work through the obstacles and overcome challenges no matter how hard they may be, even if they are mentally and emotionally draining, we always find a way back on track. This year the challenges were tough and times were hard. In 2015 New Year we had no idea of the twists and turns that 2015 had in store for us. He is a look into our 2015 at BEES.

During 2014 some of our followers will remember it was a huge year with 4 new arrivals to our Sanctuary, 2 were a mother and her calf Kham Mee and Boon, who were joining the program temporarily to receive treatment, rest and care after the calf had severely damaged his eye on a sharp piece of bamboo. The other 2 were the Beautiful Golden Girls Thong Dee and Boon Yuen, who joined the retirement program under a 2 year contract. When they both joined BEES they were very frail, their teeth very worn and digestive systems very damaged.

In early January it was very cold and the newest arrivals the Golden Girls – Thong Dee and Boon Yuen were both very poorly and needed some help to get through the cold wintery nights, one of our incredible supporters Karyn Steele who has since become the Treasurer of BEES Animal Foundation Australia (our Australian Team) quickly gathered together a number of materials and created 2 homemade elephant blanket jackets to take some of the wintery air chill off the backs of the Golden Girls. In January we also invited Burm’s Abbott teacher from Chiang Mai to see the land in which our villagers wished to Build the temple here in Mae Tan, as soon as the Abbott heard of the interest to build the temple he blessed the land and told the spirits he would contact his sponsors from the Bangkok Buddhist society and find the funds needed to start building in March. At the end of January Mother and Calf Kham Mee and Boon on the treatment, rest and care program had to be taken in an emergency to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre Hospital after dear little Boon was showing signs of potential EEHV – Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus which is a fatal hemorrhagic disease. Thankfully little Boon responded well to treatment and it was found that he had likely had an allergic reaction to a plant or insect in which carried toxins and made him very ill, Thank fully it was not the EEHV Virus. He was unable to eat or drink for nearly 3 days and had temperatures and a very severe tongue swelling. Thank fully due to the quick thinking and very well experienced Veterinarians at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre Hospital they were able to save Boon’s life.

Boon Yuen's blockage back in February was a whopping 9.5kg, but in March her friend Thong Dee passed an even bigger blockage of 11kg! This is not good, we have order 3/4 of a Tonne of Tamarinds to act as laxative and fed everyday and are buying in a food shredder so they dont have to do to much work chewing the foods and breaking them down.

Boon Yuen’s blockage back in February was a whopping 9.5kg

At the beginning of February During Kham Mee and Boon’s stay at the hospital another worrying event was unfolding at BEES, one of the newest arrivals Boon Yuen had collapsed and had a intestinal impaction. She stopped eating and drinking. We called her loving owner Poor Tawee and he immediately got on a bus from his new home town where he was caring for his elderly mother and came to be by Boon Yuen’s side to help us get her through these trying times and save her life. On the 10th of February after 72 hours of round the clock care, enemas and trying to get her to eat enough banana’s and watermelons to give her strength we were able to help Boon Yuen safely remove the impaction which was blocking up her intestines and causing her severe pain and discomfort. It weighed in at 9.5kg and her owner was so relieved he stayed one more night to make sure she was well again before returning to his elderly mother that needed him by her side after recently losing her husband and had no one to care for her but Poor Tawee. It took about a week for Boon Yuen to be strong again and she went back to her normal cheeky self, trying to steal pumpkins from the pumpkin room with her friend Thong Dee.

In March Thong Dee gave us a scare when she went off her food and stopped drinking water on the 18th and it took 3 days before she was able to pass a intestinal impaction that was causing her terrible discomfort. On the 20th March Thong Dee was able to pass an 11kg dung. March also was the month we began the building of the Mae Tan Temple with our community and volunteers. Thanks to the help of Burm’s Abbott Teacher and the sponsors from the Bangkok Buddhist society we could finally begin building the long awaited Temple. March was also a month of fighting off many forest fires that threatened the project and our surrounding villager’s farms.

In April we were busily working away on completing the elephant medical shelter in which we began building in October 2014 and finding foraging sites for the elephants after the fires took out most of the elephant’s food sources. In April Mae Jumpee the eldest Elephant in the Retirement Program at BEES returned home to her village for the ‘Muut Muur Suu Kwaam’ which is for the owners to give thanks to the elephants. Mae Jumpee returned to her village for 7 days for the ceremony where she was blessed by the family, they fed her favourite foods over the balcony of the family’s home and spent time chained in the forest between blessing ceremonies, close by to her family. Mae Jumpee was greatly missed by her best friend Mae Kam. Mae Kam was so happy to see her on her return to BEES. Many people ask WHY we ‘allowed’ or ‘let’ Mae Jumpee go, the answer is that we do not own Mae Jumpee we provide the owners with an alternative income and in return Mae Jumpee is allowed to stay at BEES under contract, this contract is resigned every year. If we did not allow Mae Jumpee to go, they could take her away from us for not respecting their culture, sometimes we have to make compromise in order to achieve what is best for the individual elephant so that they can continue to stay in sanctuary. In mid-April we received a touching message from the family members of Burm’s friend Robsy Christiansen who passed away suddenly a few years ago, who told us of Robsy’s wishes. Robsy had written in her Will that she wanted a donation to be made to BEES Elephant Sanctuary in her name. That donation was an incredible 20,000AUD! We were and still are blown away by this incredible act of kindness and made a promise to Robsy’s family that we would use these finds to establish our Thai Foundation and buy more land to help many more elephants.

 

In May we took a picture of Robsy to Burm’s Buddhist school a place that he had promised he would take Robsy only a few weeks before her passing. Robsy’s spirit was blessed by the head monk at the school and a message of great thanks was passed to Robsy from all of us. We will be forever grateful for Robsy’skind donation and will be able to do so much more for the elephants. On the 22nd May we started up a fundraiser to secure Mae Kam’s freedom. Back in April Mae Kam’s owner came to BEES and requested to take Mae Kam home for the same ceremony Mae Jumpee returned home for. Again, as explained above sometimes we have to make compromise in order to do what is best for the elephants, which is for the elephants to be allowed to come back to BEES. Mae Kam’s owner decided to walk Mae Kam back to his village, he strapped the basket on Mae Kam about 2 hours down the road from BEES, and we had requested he not put the basket on her as she had not worn the trekking basket for 3 years. As soon as he asked her to walk with the basket on she shook him violently off her back- something Mae Kam is known very well for in her previous life in the camps, shacking tourist from her back- we don’t believe the owner ever thought Mae Kam would do this to him, he has always loved Mae Kam. When he fell, he hit his back on the trekking basket breaking vertebrae in his spine and landed face first and splitting his face open and causing serious injury to his eye and head. His son came racing back to BEES on the motorbike to find us to help him get his father to the hospital, the owner Panuu was then transferred to 3 different hospitals to get the care he needed and spent over a week in hospital and many weeks in recovery. Mae Kam’s mahout went to check her and immediately removed the basket and she has not left BEES ever since. Mae Kam’s owner was very angry at Mae Kam for hurting him and decided that it would be best to sell her as he no longer wanted to keep elephants anymore and felt it was a bad omen for their family, the Save Mae Kam Campaign was established to ensure that she was not sold onto a trekking camp and stayed at BEES!

On the 1st June Mae Kam celebrated 3 years of happy retirement at BEES! And on the 3rd June an AMAZING thing happened, in just 13 days the funds to SAVE MAE KAM were raised!!!!! June was a bitter sweet month, we saved Mae Kam and exchanged the funds on the 17th June, but during all the excitement something terrible happened and was completely out of our control! Kham Mee and Boon’s owner had not spoken to us for many weeks, after he had asked us if he could breed Kham Mee at BEES, we advised him that we would NOT be doing anything of the sort and that he should wait as Kham Mee was still feeding her 1 year old calf Boon who had such a traumatic year already. We always knew that Kham Mee and Boon came to BEES under a short-term rest and care contract and was not permanent!  On the 13th June Kham Mee and Boon’s owners ripped Kham Mee and Boon from BEES and walked them back to tourism. We were told they were going to they were going to a ‘non-riding camp’ and that Kham Mee was going for breeding. We have tried to make contact with the ‘non-riding camp’ and rang the owner but no one wanted to update us or answer emails. Although heartbroken at the events and the lack of care or respect for the efforts in which BEES went to, to ensure that Kham Mee and Boon received the care they needed, we MUST continue to educate and raise awareness for the plight of the Asian Elephants and bring an end to cruelty.

Kham Mee and Boon settling at the TECC Elephant Hospital after a long journey and a restless night.

Kham Mee and Boon at the elephant hospital in January. Sadly, they left BEES in June.

In July the building of the temple continued rapidly and we went with our volunteers to help. On the 18th July they had the opening ceremony. A three day ritual and chanting, it was a truly amazing sight and the end result, a beautiful place where all the villagers of Mae Tan can pay respect whenever they wish, to their beloved Buddha. It’s hard to find the words to say how July ended though, because with the end of July came the end of a life of a very much loved elephant. On the 27th July Boon Yuen took a turn, already with a weak immune system and poor digestion Boon Yuen was stung by a wasp while out on a short forest walk the day before. She went off her food and water, she become very tired and weak. Our Team pulled together all her favorite fruits packed with vitamins and medicine to help her get strong again. By the 28th she was already improving and on the morning of the 29th she was looking incredible, she was walking strong, grazing gracefully in the fields and many of the volunteers commented on how well she looked after the previous two days. We had been working around the Medical shelter and around 12.30 headed back to the dining room hut for lunch and saw Boon Yuen had moved up the mountain a little way and was grazing in thick green grass. We had just finished eating lunch when Suvanaan our mahouts wife came running over yelling Boon Yuen is laying down. We were in complete shock become less than an hour before we had seen her looking so wonderful. We ran to her and tried to get her to stand, she took a second fall as she couldn’t hold her weight any longer and died in the afternoon on the 29th July in her sanctuary after 7 months of freedom, surrounded by many that loved her. We miss her every single day and not a day goes by we don’t think about her, she left behind her poorly friend Thong Dee who has not been the same since.

In August we celebrated Mae Jumpee’s 3 years retirement at BEES on the 16th August. But just before we received devastating news less than two weeks after losing Boon Yuen we received a message we had hoped we would never receive, Peter Olliver our dear friend, our supporter and very much loved husband of our Australian Foundation Treasurer Karyn Steele had lost his battle to Cancer. Karyn and Peter have always helped BEES in so many ways since finding out about us, we cannot put into words how much we appreciate their ongoing support. They have been there for us in every hour of need and have sourced some incredible donations for BEES over the years. Losing Peter was like losing a member of our family and we will forever be grateful to Peter for his love and support. In memory of Peter we have used the logo he designed for our newly established Thai Foundation so that Peter’s legacy can live on through BEES for years to come and he can continue with us on this journey in improving elephant welfare and making a positive difference here in Thailand. We miss you every day Peter aka Yellow! See you again someday mate and take care of Boon Yuen for us! We placed candles and yellow flowers on Boon Yuen’s grave and said a special prayer for Peter. August was also the month we started fundraising for Thong Dee, the friend that Boon Yuen left behind. The owner of the Golden Girls decided Thong Dee should never leave BEES and he really needed some help getting his organic lemon and lime farm off the ground. It was decided that we would buy Thong Dee to support Poor Tawee their owner in his mission to create an organic lemon and lime farm. He was so devastated when Boon Yuen died and knew that he needed to work on the farm and leave his last remaining elephant to live in Sanctuary.

September was a month of continued fundraising for Thong Dee and trying to keep Thong Dee healthy. After losing Boon Yuen Thong Dee was quiet, she didn’t graze well and didn’t want to go on forest walks. Slowly she starting eating good amounts again and drinking water, but she has not been the same ever since losing Boon Yuen. She still struggles.

In October things started to quieten down and we worked around the project repairing fences, pampering the elephants and built a brand new spirit house, this time much bigger so that it could also bless the elephant’s spirits also. After Boon Yuen died Burm’s Abbott said that we need a bigger spirit house to protect us, all the staff, the elephants, the animals and the surrounding village people. The spirit house came together very quickly and we now make offerings every day to Ganesha who is placed inside the spirit house.

In November it was a month of articles, posts and preparation for our fundraiser in Brisbane Australia. It was also the month that we raised all the funds for our darling Thong Dee to be permanently retired at BEES and Poor Tawee her owner now has the funds to build his organic lemon and lime farm. Thong Dee enjoyed her 1 year retirement day at BEES on the 22nd of November which we now call her freedom day as Thong Dee is forever a BEES elephant! On the 21st November we had the Brisbane Fundraiser and announced our new project No-More-Chains at BEES, we launched the campaign via Just Giving on the eve of the 21st November. We have raised just over 300AUD on Just Giving and raised around 9000AUD in cash on the eve of the fundraiser. It was a great success but we still have over 50,000AUD to go! Please donate towards the no-more-chains campaign for BEES on Just Giving.

December has been go go go, we went out on a research trip to the elephant camps in the North and announced our newly established Thai Foundation, but most of it was spent preparing for the biggest Christmas to date! Apart from preparing for Christmas it has been a month of cold nights and hot days. Our poorly old girl Thong Dee has been struggling and especially feeling the cold and thankfully this year all our eles have incredible durable, warm and cozy elephant coats made by Diana at The Goat Coat shop and that were fundraised for by Friends of Lucy in Canada. A huge thanks to everyone that donated in order to keep our eles warm this winter. On the 26th December we celebrated Christmas with our amazing community that surrounds BEES. We had great prizes this year for the kids and every person in the village got to take something home. It was lots of fun and there was smiles all around. Thank you to all the volunteers and people abroad who have donated to make this years Christmas as amazing as it was. The last few days have been very hot during the day and very cold at night it has really been shaking our darling Thong Dee around, we have started Thong Dee on vitamin injections to give her a boost.

Lush greenery = Happy Elephants

Thanks for your support during 2015! Much love all the eles at BEES

We didn’t mention about our BEARS animal rescue project in this blog as the blog would surely become 100 pages long ;), all the rescued animals at BEARS are doing well, we have had a few sad losses this year and many sad cases and we will continue to do what we can for the cats, dogs and wildlife in our region. 2016 holds many more sterilizations, treatments and preventative medicine programs and likely more rescues. Bring on 2016, BEARS is ready!

Well friends, it’s the 31st of December and the last day of 2015. As you have just read if your new to BEES, so much has happened, so much has been achieved and there has been a lot of good times and a lot of hard times.

Together standing united as a force for positive change we CAN achieve great things.

We thank each and every one of you for following our work and being believers in BEES.

Let’s continue to work towards a brighter future together through 2016!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!! Speak to you again in 2016!!!!!

With lots of ele love,
The BEES Team xxx

 

A note from Emily

Written by Em. Posted in bees blog

New Rescues, New staff, Elephant Blessings and a chance to permanently retire one of our very special ele’s at BEES – We need your help…. BEES biggest fundraiser to date! 


Hello BEES Friends,


It has been a massive few months here at BEES, we have been out on research journeys to see other elephants and further educate mahouts and owners, spreading the word of our work and further our knowledge and research. Throughout the last few months we have had a few challenges, have come across some very concerning situations involving both elephants, four and two legged furry/feathery friends, we have seen a lot of abuse and neglect and we are now working to find solutions and ways to improve the living conditions of some of the animals we have seen. Our work here is not easy, we see many disturbing situations and do our best to find solutions to a very complex problem. Their a hundreds of thousands of animals suffering everyday in tourism trade, we MUST do what we can to be their voice!

 


An update on BEES/BEARS Animal Rescues: April was a big month caring for the new kitten rescues Di-Annie and Steve who were rescued back in March by our mahout who had found in the village and their mother had died, finding an injured young male cat on the start day of the Songkran festival laying helplessly in the middle of the road with weakness in the lower body, naming him Songkran and then a few days later rescuing little Hope a disabled pup from the village who had been hit by a car and had severe fracture of the spine.


In the first week of May two tiny kittens were separated from their mother and dumped in the local fresh vegetable market, P’Gai the owner of the market loves cats, she has several very old cats already. Kittens need a lot of attention and P’Gai knows she can’t give them the care and attention they need as well as care for several very elderly cats. She is one of our most kind and caring rescuers, she does what she can usually capturing the animals, securing them in a cage, gives them food and water and then she calls on us Team BEARS for help, to give the love and care they need and give them a warm home. The most recent rescues from P’Gai are Song See and Sam See.

Songkran rescued on the morning of the start day of the Songkran festival in April from a busy 3 lane road in Chiang Mai, he was very frightened and unable to walk, incontinent and very weak, but after 6 days on anti-inflammatory he began to use the lower part of his body again. Today he still has no use of his tail, but he is able to walk using both hind legs and is building more and more strength everyday. He is still incontinent so he gets sponge baths daily, but we hope given time to heal and lots of tender loving care that he will continue to grown into the beautiful handsome boy we can see he is already becoming.

Little Hope the disabled pup from the village was in a horrible state, she went for an X-ray soon after her rescue which confirmed our thoughts, she has severe deformity of the hind legs, partial rectal prolapse (part of her rectum is on the outside of her anus) and her spine is severely fractured, her spinal cord is severed and darling Hope will never walk again! Her injuries are likely caused by motorbike or car accident. She weighs a tiny 2.6 Kilos and is only about 3 months old. Hope’s quality of life would have been very grim before BEARS had found her, now she spends her days being pampered like a princess, we clean and dress her wounds putting bandages all the way up both legs, keeping her from infection. Just this week her wheels were hand delivered by a volunteer that had collected them from BEES Animal Foundation Australia – BAFA the Australian Team for BEES. She has been getting used to her wheels, but gets tired very easily. She is so little that when she sits to take a break often she doesn’t have the energy to get up again. It’s a whole new world for little Hope. She is such an amazing dog, with such a big heart. She has learned to trust in humans again and is trying to live her life to the fullest.
BEARS barks and meows a HUGE welcome to kittens Di-Annie and Steve, Songkran, Song See and Sam See and Darling Little disABLED pup Hope. All are settling in well to their new home and we are here committed to giving them love and care they deserve.

 

Hope testing out her new wheels

Darling Hope testing her new wheels


And just now as I am writing this blog a small wild bird fledgling has just arrived, he is not yet able to fly, I believe they are called Plovers? When I get a chance I will research more. He is now safe in a cage with a soft grass floor bed, some water and with the rains brought loads of flying termites which we sprinkled into the cage and he enjoyed munching them all up! Welcome little fella!


Lenovo Australia’s kind donation:
Recently we received an amazing gift from Lenovo Australia. A brand new Yoga 3 Pro Notebook. We have been having a lot of trouble with our technology and this amazing gift will make life so much easier for the daily communications and running of BEES. In fact, I am using this wonderful gift right now to write this and already life is so much easier.
Thank You Lenovo Australia!!!!


Two New Mahouts join BEES:
In April we welcomed two new mahouts to our Elephant Care Team Eemi and Toohey. Eemi and Toohey both are very excited to be a part of the Team and have been working really well with the other mahouts. They have both previously cared for elephants in camps in the north and are adapting well to the positive care techniques we use at BEES. They are now caring for Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee. Welcome to the Team Eemi and Toohey, thank you for joining us on our journey to improving the future for the elephants!


Elephant Blessings: In the last blog we wrote about the elephants being returned home for elephant blessings during April and we said we would provide an update after we had been, as we had never been or seen an elephant blessing before.
Mae Jumpee the oldest elephant under retirement program at BEES returned to her birth place for 8 days in April for the Elephant Blessings. As previously explained the Blessings ceremony is a way for the families to give thanks to the elephants for their service to the families. At BEES elephants that owners do not wish to sell but want to join the program are under contract, owners usually sign on for one year to begin with and BEES hopes to be able to continue to secure long term contracts as we build friendships. It is the owners right to take the elephants home for these ceremonies, they are not breaking any laws. At BEES we work very hard to improve the situations for the elephants and feel it is important to work together with the owners in order to make a positive difference. We may not personally agree with some cases, but sometimes we have to make compromises in order to do what we can for the individual animals we are trying to help. We feel it’s important to respect the local culture and that if we didn’t agree to this that we would not be able to improve the elephants lives the way we already have been able to achieve.

Mae Jumpee at the home of her owners for the blessing ceremony.

Mae Jumpee at the home of her owners, receiving treats prior to the blessing ceremony.


On the 1st day of the ceremony she was collected in an elephant transfer truck that was also carrying her daughter and two young grandsons aged 5 and 10 years old that are still owned within the family. Their interaction was very touching, she knew exactly who they were and her daughter tried to turn to touch her mother, the whole journey Mae Jumpee touched the genitalia of the other elephants, who knows what they where saying???!!!! We accompanied Mae Jumpee to the village making sure she was okay. When we arrived in the village they offloaded the elephants and gave them some time to find their feet. They where greeted by many village people, Mae Jumpee is the oldest elephant within the villages elephants. The elephants spent a few moments sniffing each other and the area and then they were walked down into the village down to the owners home. When we reached the home the family members welcomed the elephants, standing on the balcony of the home and held out treats of banana, sugarcane, corn and tamarinds for the wondering trunks. Once the elephants had their welcome home treats they had a bath, a drink of water and then they were taken to be secured in the forest. The elephants spent 7 days in the forest on long chains nearby the village being cared for by their owners during this time. During the 7 day period the families brewed their very own Moon shine- Thai whiskey in preparation for the Elephant blessings. There were approx around 15 elephants returned home to the village around this time. We met with some of the owners that day, talked with a number of mahouts and then we returned home. Ringing to check in daily, a friend was staying in the village and was able to check in on Mae Jumpee for us.

The elephants of The Kratuu family all lined up to receive treats and blessings from the family, at the families home.

The elephants of The Kratuu family all lined up to receive treats and blessings from the family, at the families home. The long trunk in the foreground is Mae Jumpee’s


On the 7th Day we returned back to Mae Jumpees village early morning, already the human celebrations had begun, whiskey was ready, beer and soft drinks had been served, food was cooking and by 9 am it was time for the elephants to be brought back into the village from the nearby forest and for the families to give thanks to the elephants for their service for the families and pay respects and apologize for any discomfort they have caused the elephants in order to make an income to feed their families. The ceremony took about an hour, all four of the families elephants including Mae Jumpee stood in the same place that they had 7 days prior and where fed a few treats to start the ceremony, the second eldest son who is a joint owner of the elephants began the blessings by taking a bowl of offerings and bowing his head and lightly placing it on top of each elephants head. Then he took a bowl of sacred tamarind water and sprinkled a small amount on each elephants head. After this a beautiful hand-made banana leaf offering with scented flowers wrapped in it was placed on each of the elephants heads with a single tamarind from the scented water offering. (Mae Jumpee spent most of the time trying to eat the blessings). After the tamarind and banana leaf offering was placed on the top of their heads a white confetti was sprinkled on the tops of their heads also – it looked a lot like popcorn pieces – popcorn is used widely in the local area for traditional blessings even for non-animal related ceremonies. All the time chanting and prayer were taking place. Once each elephant had been showered in scented tamarind water, blessed with the banana leaf offerings and sprinkled with the white confetti on the tops of their heads the chanting got quieter but was still heard at a whisper, the man doing the blessings (the second eldest son) placed a line of white cotton down both ears of the elephants. He took another bowl full of offerings and lightly held it up above the elephants heads, bowed his head and did this for each elephant. He chanted more and picked up a fresh green elephant grass stem and began to lightly run the grass over each elephants body. He then returned to the top of the house to pick up a third bowl full of offerings and held it above each elephants heads, lightly resting it against their heads for a moment until all elephants had the offering placed on their heads for the third and final time. Then it was time for the elephants to enjoy a feast of banana, tamarinds, banana tree, fruits and vegetables available in the village and fresh juicy grasses. After this the elephants returned to the forest again for their last evening in the village. The following day we drove out to the village again to meet the transfer truck and bring darling old Mae Jumpee home. She was tired, but after 48 hours rest at BEES, she was back to her normal active self.


Help us SAVE Mae Kam:  
We have some really alarming news. Our first elephant to join us at BEES – Mae Kam who has been under retirement contract at BEES is at risk of being returned to a life of slavery, we need your help to stop this from happening and secure her permanent freedom. When elephants joined the retirement program back in the beginning when BEES first started it was for contracts of 1 year in the hopes the owners would continue to extend or eventually would sell us their elephants and retire themselves. The reason we started this way under contractual agreements for long and short term is because 1, we didn’t have the funds or support to buy elephants as they cost the same amount as a very nice vehicle and 2, because owners did not want to sell their elephants.

 


In Mae Kams 2nd year with us the owner extended her contract with BEES for 2 years. Now, the contract has expired already this year and the owner has decided he does not want to resign the contract. The reason is because he is not happy with Mae Kam. On the 31st of May it will be 3 years since we started walking Mae Kam to BEES. Arriving at BEES on the 1st of June 2012. Mae Kams 3 year ‘retirement day’ is suppose to be the 1st June, but instead we fear we will be grieving because we will have lost the battle to keep her in her sanctuary, instead of celebrating a special time. A few weeks ago the owner came to take Mae Kam back to his village, but clearly she didn’t want to go. In order to get there she had to walk, the owner also decided to harness her up with the trekking basket in order to get her home. Mae Kam was not impressed, she clearly loves sanctuary life and was not happy to be back on the road, walking with the horrible, heavy and very uncomfortable trekking basket.

- Mae Kam is known throughout the region as a ‘dangerous’ elephant because she shakes people off her back, it’s one of the reason’s Mae Kam was retired to BEES, because many years ago her owner had leased her out to the trekking camps where she was being beaten terribly for not doing her job. The owner decided to take her home back in that time as no one wanted to work with her, she was kept on a chain in the forest for nearly 2 years before she was given a chance to walk freely and socialize in a natural environment, a place she now calls home at BEES and has done for the past 3 years.She is not dangerous she needs to be respected and understood, she has her own individual needs and we need to give her love, respect and understanding. –

When the owner decided to take her home for the ceremony a couple of week ago, he harnessed her up with the trekking basket, she immediately changed, she has been in the forest for 3 years and was not used to carrying the basket, she shook violently and her owner fell off from her back. He was sitting on her neck, not in the basket and he first fell backwards and hit his back on the trekking basket and then ended up face first straight onto the ground, his son came back to our house asking us to come quick and Burm drove the owner into the emergency room at the hospital in Maechaem. Our staff immediately removed the basket and checked her over. Thankfully, Mae Kam was fine, she was walked back to her home at BEES, she calmed down immediately, has been here every day since, walking alongside her best friend Mae Jumpee, who she missed dearly when they were separated for 8 days for Mae Jumpee to return home for her ceremony. The owner sustained serious injury to his head and broke a vertebrae, he was moved to 3 different hospital for treatments and further care. He spent a week in hospital, BEES as a kind gesture helped with the hospital bills. Even today, 3 weeks later he is still not well, he has blurred vision, headaches and a sore spine. He has decided he no longer wants Mae Kam because this is a very bad omen for him and his family, he believes it’s a sign that he should no longer keep elephants and the family all agree that they no longer want her. He wants to sell her and he is thinking of selling her to a trekking camp owner to go back to work in the trekking camps. She CAN’T work and DOESN’T WANT to work. We CAN’T let that happen, she is a retired elephant and loves her life at BEES. We have to find a way to secure Mae Kam’s freedom,we can’t let her go without a fight. We will need to find the funds to save her.

 

What life would you want? Mae Kam doesn't have a voice, but her actions speak louder than words. She chose sanctuary life the moment she used her voice and stopped the walk home to her ceremony.

What life would you want? Mae Kam doesn’t have a voice, but her actions speak louder than words. She chose sanctuary life the moment she used her voice and stopped the walk home to her ceremony.

 

 

On the 19th May, after a few days of negotiating, Mae Kam’s owner agreed to giving us a month to gather the funds, we have been madly setting up a campaign in order to make an easier way for our wonderful supporters to donate towards securing Mae Kam’s freedom. The price is high, after a lot of research and discussion with experienced buyers this is standard price for a trekking elephant with Mae Kam’s visual body condition, she may not be classified as young, but she is strong – because she has had a lot of love and care at BEES- the camps don’t care about age, they don’t consider individual personalities or understand their psychological needs, she is there to do a job and if she doesn’t she will be beaten. We fear for her life and her safety. We MUST save her! Please help us save our beautiful girl, Mae Kam was the start of BEES, she means the world to us! The clock is ticking and we are running out of time, we ideally need to raise the funds in the next 2 weeks as it can take a while for the funds to be released and moved over to Thailand and we need to give the funds to the owner in less than a month!!!. Please spread the word, donate and help us save our beautiful girl! Thank you!

Please help us save Mae Kam and donate today via Just Giving:
http://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/burm-and-emilys-elephant-sanctuary/savemaekamfund

Or if you wish to do direct bank transfer: (Please make sure you write what it’s for and send us a PM on facebook to let us know so we can be sure it arrives and send you a thank you)
THAI BANK DETAILS:

KASIKORN BANK
ACCT NAME: BEES ELEPHANTS SANCTUARY (BURM AND EMILY)
ACCT #: 419 2 35661 5
SWIFT CODE: KASITHBK
LOCATION: 45 Moo 4 Charoenniran , Amphur Maechaem, Tambon Chang Keung, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50270

AUSTRALIAN BANK DETAILS:

NAB
ACCT NAME: BAFA
BSB: 082-146
ACCT#: 848647725.
SWIFT code: AAU3303M
LOCATION: 690 Pittwater Rd, Brookvale 2100 NSW Australia.

Trumpets, Rumbles, Grumbles, Barks, Meows, cheeps and squeaks of Thanks for your kindness and support! Together we can achieve amazing things, let’s make sure Mae Kam continues to have the freedom she deserves!!!!

Warm Regards,

Emily, Burm and all the Team at BEES Human, Elephant and 2 and four legged friends :)

All photos © BEES Elephant Sanctuary 

 

 

 

 

Burm & Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary I Copyright © 2013
Site design by Em, Meli & Greg