A note from Emily

Written by Em. Posted in bees blog

Hiya BEES Friends,

We have had a super busy start to the year! January was packed with lots of discussions about moving forward and developing more community programs, rescuing more furry friends, big talks and discussions with the owners of Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee about their futures with us, discussions with owners who are becoming more open to the idea of retiring their elephants to BEES, more talk about paper work for foundation status and we have had at least one or more volunteers here a week since Christmas week!

Although we have been keeping busy my heart is still heavy from the loss of

A very pretty Mae Kam reaching for some juicy green vines

A very pretty Mae Kam reaching for some juicy green vines

our beautiful rescue puppy NongWhan, the Oriental Bay Owl and the Barn Owl all in the same 24hours. Rescuing animals isn’t just a job for us, they become part of our little family and we love them deeply and feel great loss when one of them passes away. It only makes us continue to push forward and fight for the animals.

A big WELCOME to our new Friends of BEES:

I wanted to take the time to say WELCOME to all our new followers and say an elephant sized THANK YOU to each and every one of you for your continued support, it means a lot to us!

Together we really are making a difference!




What is BEES trying to achieve and where we are at: 


Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee play in the river. Mae Jumpee playfully kicking Mae Kam!

When I first moved to Thailand to start BEES a retirement home for elephants with my fiancé Burm we would never had known that we could have learned so much. In the first 6 months before we retired our first elephant to BEES we spent a lot of time talking with elephant owners, mahouts and trekking camp owners, each conversation was an interesting experience, some didn’t want to listen to our ideas, whilst some gave us 10 minutes before walking away and some were and still are interested in our model of working towards protecting and preserving the future of the elephants.

It shocks me that Elephants being the national symbol of Thailand have been treated so poorly for hundreds of generations! Every day, hundreds of thousands of tourists are unknowingly funding elephant exploitation and abuse all in the name of Tourism.

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


Tourists need to take a step back from the happy,bubbly, ignorance of the travel brain when they arrive in Asia and question what they are doing, would you go to Australia to ride emu’s or kangaroo’s???or go to China to ride Panda’s??? NO… So WHY is it okay to ride elephants?

To put it simply it ISN’T!

 If tourists new about the training the elephants went through and the continued fear and daily suffering, I think they would think twice about contributing to the Elephant Tourism. The trouble is A LOT of Tourists don’t know the truth behind the paintings and the clever tricks the elephants are forced to perform. That’s where YOU, my friends come in, it’s all about EDUCATION!

A street beggining elephant we found in Chiang Mai last year. Note: This is not taken at BEES and was taken in a camp in Chiang Mai

A young street beggining elephant we found in Chiang Mai last year.
NOTE: This is not taken at BEES and was taken in a camp in Chiang Mai


Through our project we wish to be able to provide a sustainable alternative for owners and their elephants, to escape the city life and hardships of working in tourism and to give the elephants retirement where they have the freedom they rightfully deserve.

BEES currently rent elephants to keep them in retirement and out of backbreaking work as vehicles for tourism and illegal logging. This way the owners can continue to feed their families and the elephants can live a nice happy natural life, they no longer have to work and can just BE elephants. WIN- WIN

Yes.. I know what a lot of people are thinking, by renting it does mean that we DON’T OWN the elephants in our care and that the owner has every right to move his elephant when a contract comes to an end or to take their elephant home for traditional ceremonies when he needs too or even sadly the possibility they will one day return back to work.

But it isn’t as black and white as just buying any elephant to give it permanent freedom!!!

Some people may ask why BEES don’t buy or haven’t yet bought elephants???

Well….One reason is because we haven’t yet had the funds too, but the main reason we have learnt is that you have to consider every aspect of a situation and be sure you are NOT making the situation worse by contributing to further elephant mistreatment and abuse for tourism. The exploitation and abuse of Thailand’s elephants needs to END!

Taken at BEES where elephants can live and BE elephants!

Taken at BEES where elephants can live and BE elephants!

What most people don’t know is that a large percentage of elephant owners selling their elephant are interested in getting funds to buy a younger, stronger elephant.

Not to say BEES will never purchase elephants because in some cases an owner that wishes to sell doesn’t always wish to use the funds for another elephant and will use the funds to buy land for farming or learn a new skill.

We believe that in the case an owner is selling his elephant with the intention of buying another elephant, it means the funds are being used directly by the owner to rip another baby elephant from its mother at a very young age and put it through the cruel and soul breaking practice ‘the phajaan’. The Phajaan is a terrifying practice where they tether the babies by all four legs, beating them for days, sometimes weeks until they submit themselves. When the poor, innocent babies soul is broken, it will then spend the rest of its life imprisoned working as a vehicle for tourism.To avoid this from continuing further it is important to rent in these situations so that the elephant can live a natural life and the owner can continue to feed his family but can’t afford to buy another elephant.

BEES work on EDUCATING mahouts, elephant owners, trekking camp managers and unaware tourists that there is another way! Elephants no longer have to go through the agonizing pain, fear and discomfort they endure on a daily basis having to work long hard days, to keep tourists happy and so that owners of elephants, trekking camp managers and mahouts can make a wage.

BEES model is one of many that are working towards giving the elephants freedom. I think all of you would agree that the best way to see elephants is when they are living in a natural environment, free from work and abuse, just being what they should always be able to BE, ELEPHANTS.

Ever since starting BEES we have wanted to give the elephants the very best we possibly can, true freedom. We are working towards securing land and fencing so that the elephants can live Chain-Free in a natural environment, where they will be protected, can roam freely and no longer have to go through the stress of being chained each night to protect them. This is a very expensive task, one that we cannot achieve on our own, but with your help we CAN achieve anything!

Let’s work together to put abuse and exploitation in the past and make Elephant Friendly Eco-Tourism (seeing elephants just being elephants) the future.

Happy ele's grazing at BEES!

Happy ele’s grazing at BEES!



What is new at BEES:


 Currently in our care we have 12 rescued dogs, 10 rescued cats, 4 rescued tortoises and Terrapins! BEESwork together with the community but also work to better the futures of local domestic animals and wildlife. By rescuing re-habilitating and releasing wildlife where possible and providing a home to those that can’t be released. We give a home to all animals in need!

In the near future we wish to secure land, fence it to build a large dog/cat rescue center and Animal clinic, have veterinary staff and be able to treat, spay and neuter on site. 

Bear: the puppy who was rescued on the 6th of January is settling in well. He was full of ticks when we got him and is still picking up ticks and getting regular tick baths. He loves to play and has the cutest little growl when he is trying to act like a bossy boots with the other dogs.

Toto: At the start of the month rescue dog Toto got into a big fight with a local village man’s dogs during the night, he ran to bark at the local villager who should not have been walking through the land with his dogs at that time of evening. One of the dogs was very aggressive and attacked poor Toto for standing his ground and we are now treating our little man for a very deep wound in his left hind leg. He will be on antibiotics for at least another week and we have been flushing the wound daily.

Some of our many rescues!

Some of our many rescues!

Newest Rescue Puppy Robin: Nick named Robin-Claire after the two volunteers that help assist in her rescue. Robin is still settling in which is to be expected as she has only been here a few days. She is very shy and nervous around the other dogs and it took her several hours to eat proper food when she first arrived. Poor Robin has had to fend for herself for weeks since her Mother and siblings had been poisoned by neighbors of the Maechaemschool. Students that attend the school were very worried about this little pup and contacted us to let us know of her existence as they were very worried she was going to die. Sweet little Robin now has a loving home where she will be well cared for.

Son: is the oldest and toughest Male dog, he is the leader of the pack and although very handsome, with a sweet face when it comes to medicating he is quiet aggressive and very difficult to treat when he becomes injured. On Wednesday Son went off wondering in the morning and came back with a serious wound on his front paw, he has partly de-gloved his front left foot. We have spoken to the vet and he has given us advice on how to best care for Son in this situation. He is on a course of heavy duty antibiotics in which are being sneakily passed to him in naughty treats such as sausage, a bit of pancake or fish cubes. We hope our Big beautiful protector will be well again soon.

Rescue pup Pai Lin acting as a Mummy figure for baby bear!

Rescue pup Pai Lin acting as a Mummy figure for baby bear!

All the other rescued doggies are doing well, Pai Lin, Panda, Kip and Toby all had flea and tick bathes on Tuesday as well as Robin and Bear because the Ticks are ridiculous at the moment, you pull one off and find ten more!

Kitty Rescues: 

Kittens Justine and Tracey that were dumped in the neighboring land at the beginning of January are wonderful. They are the sweetest cuddliest little kittens and purr ever so loudly. I can’t help but wonder what their sibling would have been like if she hadn’t sadly been killed by the neighbors dogs because their previous owners dumped them in the wrong place. They love to chase each other around all day and have become great friends with Lucky and Milo two of our adult rescued cats.

All the other cats are doing well, Lucky and Milo always find a way to break into our hut (the managers hut) so they can snuggle up with us under the warm covers. Dani, Suki and Cocoa are little explorers and came back home whenever they want a good meal of cat biscuits or fish and rice. Gizmo and Tigger the rescue kitties are getting bigger and bigger, I think they are almost fully grown! MeeSuuk who was rescued back in November 2012 has also been sneaking into volunteer huts to snuggle with guests on these cold winter evenings.

The little dinosaurs:

Hahn’s, Bubbles, Ronald and Shelly are all doing well. Bubbles the Terrapin has stopped using his pool at the moment, we suspect it is too cold! Hahn’s and Ronald the Mountain Tortoises snuggle up together under the warm dry rice grass we have provided for them while little Shelly hangs out in her corner on her own.

A very handsome rescue kitty lucky in the garden at BEES!

A very handsome rescue kitty lucky in the garden at BEES!

Emily heading to Australia this Month:

This month I will be returning to Australia for a very quick visit, of course to see my family but to get together with some wonderful supporters to discuss and hopefully finally set-up Charity/Foundation status. I do apologize that it has taken so long to get this set-up. It is very very difficult to set it up from here and there is a lot of paper work to get through in order to be able to operate as an Australian Foundation. It is so difficult for us too not be able to receive much needed funds to be able to support our many rescued animals, the elephants and providing preventative medicines for them. While I am in Australia if you wish to help us in any way with fundraising or make a donation monetary or other that is only small that could easily be carried in luggage back to Thailand, please don’t hesitate to contact me through the BEES contact email! I will be in Sydney from the 11th – 23rd February. Donations of dog treats, dogs toys, old towels and blankets, animal medical resources (bandages, steristrips, Elastoplast etc), 100% pure Coconut Oil (for the elephants), Lanolin (Pure wool fat, for the elephants), SudoCreme(For the elephants) is all greatly appreciated. If your Australian based in NSW and wish to join our Australian Fundraising committee or join as a BEES Friend please contact us! It has been fourteen months since I left the sanctuary for more than 3 days. I leaving my team here with lots of responsibility here but I know they are all fine as they are as hardworking and passionate about the welfare of the animals as I am.

As I am finalizing everything before I head off to Australia and whilst I am in Australia it may be very difficult to respond to your emails and enquiries. Please bear with me and will write back to you as soon as I can and I do sincerely apologize for any delays in advance.

Fundraiser: BEES Vehicle Fundraiser By Karyn Steele

Currently an amazing supporter Karyn Steele is dedicating her time to raising funds for BEES much needed new vehicle. We have been in desperate need for a new vehicle for over a year now and we fear that our current 19 year old Toyota Hilux is at the end of its life. Since starting BEES we have had to change the truck battery several times, it has broken down in emergency situations where we are in desperate need to get animals to the vet and has cost us a fortune in mechanic bills to get it fixed which could be funds for the elephants and animal rescues.

Can you help us raise the funds needed to buy a new vehicle to continue our important work here in rural Thailand??

Your donations are gratefully appreciated through PayPal by entering Beesfundraiser@hotmail.com

or through

Go Fund Me: BEES Vehicle Fundraiser By Karyn Steele



Australian Film crew visits BEES:

A very smiley Mae Jumpee at BEES!

A very smiley Mae Jumpee at BEES! She loves the camera!


On friday 7 th February we had an Australian film crew come out to film us and have been here for the last 3 days, Burm and I had an interview and the elephants got to be filmed just being elephants! All very exciting stuff that will be released later on in the year but for now it’s top secret!

That’s all from me for now BEES Friends! Thank you for joining us and for taking the time to read this!

I shall do my best to BLOG again around the end of the month!

Best wishes and lots of elelove,

Emily xx

All Photos © BEES Elephant Sanctuary











A note from BEES

Written by Em. Posted in bees blog

Hello Beautiful BEES Friends,

Ele girls in the forest

Ele girls in the forest while it is pouring rain

Apologies, there hasn’t been many blogs lately. It is very difficult to find the time to write blogs and post when it’s raining, being 15km from the nearest internet café, having daily afternoon English classes with local kids during the 4 weeks holiday and also now continuing with the classes now they are back at school some afternoons and weekends as well as running around after 2 Elephants, many Cats and Dogs and Tortoises/Terrapins and usually a bird here and a lizard there and all kinds of animals running around that need help. It leaves very little time to communicate using modern day technology, so this is a very looong update!

It has been a very busy time since the last blog; many things have been going on. We have been trying to keep Facebook as up to date as possible, so we hope you have been enjoying the pictures and the posts. Since the passing of our darling May who was a beautiful, sweet and loving black and white cat,  Daeng our red dog that has gone missing and our Terrapin Holly passing away after months of fighting shell rot and infections, it has been quiet a rough time for us and a very big year we have been through. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming and it can be very depressing working in the animal welfare world, there are so many ups and downs in every day. It may get hard but it only takes one look into the innocent eyes of an animal to come back down to earth and keep pushing on, no matter how hard it can get, the animals need us and we have to stay strong.

Elephant Talk:

Mae Jumpee munching in the forest

Mae Jumpee munching in the forest

We are working very hard on retiring more elephants through educating mahouts and owners there is another way and have great hope that 2014 there will be more happy retired elephants roaming around at BEES.  Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee enjoy freedom and just live as elephants should, to just BE elephants every day. They wouldn’t have this life without the help and support of volunteers and global supporters.  All elephants deserve to have a life as natural as possible given back to them, as humans we have taken so much from them, destroyed their families and their wild home, broken the babies at a young age and forced them to live a life imprisoned, in fear and discomfort.

Currently there is a population of over 120 elephants in our district of Maechaem, like all captive elephants, they have been broken in and mostly kept in very poorly conditions. There are many of the elephants in Maechaem that are adults and over the years to come they will need to be retired. We have been in contact with many owners of elephants throughout the district, visited many trekking camps in which their elephants work, have spoken with many mahouts to try and educate them and make them aware of other ways of caring for the elephants. A lot of these elephants are aged, tired, overworked and in desperate need of retiring. We have met over 20 of these elephants that will need to be retired in the coming years, all elephants deserve to have a bit of dignity given back to them before their time runs out. Why in this day and age is it necessary and exceptable to continue to exploit animals for tourism or ‘education’! To put it simply.. It is NOT necessary or exceptable!

It takes time to make a change, a number of wonderful organizations all over the globe are working to create this change and a single organization cannot do it on their own. More voices are needed to make a greater impact through EDUCATION and Perseverance we CAN and WILL make the change for a better future for the elephants.

Mae Jumpee takes a sniff of BEES Founder Emily's hand 'Have you got something yummy for me???' Photo By Kerstin Machel

Mae Jumpee takes a sniff of BEES Founder Emily’s hand ‘Have you got something yummy for me???’ Photo By Kerstin Machel

 Hopefully by the New Year we will have news on an elephant we are trying to retire. It has been very difficult since first starting BEES to find funding to support our projects, staff and of course the elephants as we rent them to keep them out of work and in retirement. It is not easy to find funding due to the many set-backs setting up foundation status and not having enough awareness and support of our project. Due to these set- backs it has been a slow, very stressful and extremely difficult process in running the project, making ends meet at the end of each month, but we just keep pushing on. It is very expensive to keep elephants and pay mahouts (elephant care takers) to mind them as well as fund local staff, the rescuing of cats and dogs, running wildlife rehabilitation and release programs and funding educational and Community projects.

There is a very long road ahead to improving the living conditions of elephants in Thailand. Education is the key in working towards creating a better future. By working together we all can and already do make a difference. You’re all amazing people and it is because of all of you that we can raise awareness on a higher scale and can do more to help the Elephants all over the globe, all animals and our bit to help the Community in our local area.

With your help we can create further global awareness, gather much needed funding and do more for the elephants, animals and community to make positive change.

If you would like to help us there are a number of ways:

- Join and share our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/BEES-Burm-Emilys-Elephant-Sanctuary/175152789215063?ref=tn_tnmn

        – Follow us on twitter:  https://twitter.com/BEESElephants

-      – Subscribe to our blogs and share with your family and friends and ask them to share it too:  http://www.bees-elesanctuary.org/?cat=33     

        -  Become a volunteer

        -  Make a donation or become a sponsor – Monetary or other (medical supplies, dogs toys, old towels and blankets are greatly appreciated, or you could donate items to be auctioned off at a fundraiser)

Mae Kam takes a splash; Photo by Kerstin Machel

Mae Kam takes a splash; Photo by Kerstin Machel

       – Hold a mini fundraiser event or online fundraiser ( have an auction item on Ebay)

        – Support elephant friendly projects (There are a number of reputable elephant sanctuaries and refuges across Thailand, do your research first)

       -  Educate friends and family before they travel so they are aware of the situation for the elephants.

Busy at BEES hard at work on the sanctuary and latest news:

We have been very busy here building the new accommodation hut for BEES. It is now finally finished and ready for our Christmas volunteers, we are just putting in electricity and the furnishings and we are good to go!  In November volunteers Keir Wingrove and Tracey Cox stayed with us for 2 weeks helping to build the new hut and we would like to say a huge thank you to both of you for giving us your time and putting in so much effort into helping build this new accommodation onsite. Keir was a great help in building the volunteer accommodation and brought many skills to the project and Tracey even got in and helped with the rice harvest on the Rinkaew Family farm. Both Keir and Tracey did a lot of hard work for the elephants, helping clear over grown grass, collected elephant pooh and swept the elephant sleeping areas several times during their stay, cut grass and corn and helped feed the elephants. They also helped washed the smaller dogs and gave worming treatments to the animals during November, Keir and Tracey were a very first 2 week guests and we are so grateful for their company and hard work. Thank you Keir and Tracey we hope you enjoy the rest of your travels and visit us again in the future!

On the 16th November and 17th November it was the Loy Krathong festival in Maechaem. We visited the night festival and markets in Maechaem on the 16th after a hard

Kim Thompson join the elephants on a walk through the forest

Kim Thompson join the elephants on a walk through the forest

day’s work of building onsite. The moon was almost full and lots of fun was had with our volunteers. On the 17th we made Krathongs offerings to the water gods out of banana tree and leaves, flowers and placed a candle and incense on them to be floated down Maechaem river. During the evening on the 17th we also released our Lanterns with a special message to all our animals that we miss dearly. Loy Krathong was a wonderful celebration with our volunteers and we really enjoyed their company!

After Loy Krathong on the 18th November we were hit with heavy rain storms which have done a lot of damage to the rice crops in the local area. The villagers were worried that if the rain kept on coming they may not have enough rice to see them through the year. Luckily it stopped, a lot of rice was damaged but most families salvaged enough to keep for the year but were unable to make a small profit by selling some bags of rice.

The last week November we were joined by a wonderful new friend of BEES, Kerstin Machel who has kindly passed on some incredible photos from her volunteer stay which you can see in the pictures on the edge of the blog. She was a great help in cleaning the Tortoise house and feeding them daily. She also joined us in cutting grass and corn for the ele girls and helped clean the elephant area daily. Thank you so much Kerstin for sharing your beautiful and very proffesinal photos of your stay at BEES.

Then in early December we were joined by a short stay guest Kim Thompson who kindly gave us some great advice on raw feed and species specific diets in domestic animals. It was Kim’s first visit to Thailand and she was not at all interested in riding elephants and has been spreading the word to other tourists about thinking twice about riding elephants and if they wish to see elephants to visit reputable elephant sanctuaries instead.

Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee pop their heads out of the forest for a pic :)

Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee pop their heads out of the forest for a pic :)

Kim helped us go pumpkin shopping for the ele girls and also helped offloading the pumpkin goods, cutting and cleaning the pumpkins and feeding them to the ele girls. Kim got in and helped re-assure Mae Jumpee whilst we medicated her forehead for an old wound that keeps flaring up, we have been medicating on and off since Mae Jumpee arrived at BEES. It is a wound that tells a lot of stories of Mae Jumpee’s past time, elephants skin may be thick but it is highly sensitive and in elderly elephants and can take a long time to heal, even once healed can still flare up again. Every afternoon after her daily wash down we have been putting on a rehydrating cream to help to soothe, protect, rehydrate and heal the dry sensitive skin on her head.

To all our volunteers of 2013 THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for joining us this year and helping us to build on our sanctuary and to achieve our very important work here in Maechaem, rural Thailand for the elephants and all the animals. Together we can achieve great things!!!


Foundation – Non-Profit Organization Status:

Volunteers Keir and Tracey hard at work clearing the elephant sleeping areas

Volunteers Keir and Tracey hard at work clearing the elephant sleeping areas

We have been in the process of setting up the foundation for a long time now. We are finally making progress and have moved forward one big step and hopefully not too many more to go! Over the next few weeks we should have our PAYPAL account back up and running, we will be setting up a sponsorship program in the New Year and will be back in action for accepting donations via easy payment. We apologize for the delay, as we know many of you have been waiting for this to be set up for many months. Watch this space!

Animal Rescue talk:

The puppies Pai Lin and Panda are both growing very quickly, they have already caught up to Miss Mollie. Our newest rescue Nong Whan is settling in well and has become friends Pai Lin and Mollie but is still struggling with finding her status amongst the bigger dogs. All the animals are all well, the bigger dogs are still fighting for their places in the pack and have been acting very strange since Daeng’s disappearance.  The jungle can be a dangerous place full of many poisonous snakes and insects. We miss Daeng dearly and keep hoping by some miracle she will come home but we have finally come to terms it is unlikely.Mollie is doing really well. She has gained a lot of strength in her hind legs over the previous months. we continue to give her massage every day, work on building strength in her hind legs and take her for swims down the river and it is now 6.5 months since we found her dumped down the river and left to die. She is such a little fighter, she can now stand and can even take steps, as the day goes on she does grow tired and begins to drag her legs, but drags much less now she has developed strength and muscle! Although she still urinates when she gets over excited or nervous, she has improved greatly, we are so proud of little Mollie and hope she continues to build strength and can get to a point where she doesn’t drag anymore, although she will never walk normally we hope we can get her to a point where she will be able to live as normal live as possible. A few months ago a kind supporter Debbie Kirk donated specially designed nappies,  that have been a great help to Mollie in her healing process, she now only needs them on long drives, thank you so much Debbie for giving Mollie this comfort.

Mollie in her new booties

Mollie in her new booties

Recently Mollie was given a great gift, donated by a wonderful friend and supporter Karyn Steele who earlier in the year got Mollies wheels donated and brought over an amazing 80KGS of medical donations that were donated from vets, animal suppliers and loving people from all over Australia for our rescues, the  excess luggage was kindly sponsored by Azran Osman-Rani CEO of Air Asia, Thank you Azran! The most recent and beautiful gift Karyn gave Mollie was heavy duty doggie hiking booties to help protect her little feet from getting scrapped. They look super cool and definitely help her a lot, they are made by a great company called ‘Waggle’ in Australia- The full name of the boots are Rufflewear Polar Trex Boots . Thank you so much Karyn for your incredible support for all the animals and for making warm doggie coats for the rescues for winter too. A big Thank you to  www.waggle.com.au for supplying these incredible booties for doggies all over the world! Mollie lives a very special life with the kind support of all of you. Thank you!

It is very cool here at the moment, every morning we wake up and the mountains are misty and it takes a few hours longer to see the sunshine and warmth. The winter season is here, a season that thank fully only lasts about 2.5 months in this area.  Doi Inthanon the highest mountain in Thailand, which is visible from BEES site and located only about 20km actually gets frost on the peak, the dew freezes because the very peak can sometimes get below 1’C and can get 3 inches of frozen ice. We sometimes get the cool breezes off the mountain making it very chilly for the animals. We have started making blankets and beds for the rescue animals at BEES and have been lighting fires for warmth too. Our old lady dog Gong loves to lay next to a warm fire to keep her warm in her old age!

Please keep following our progress on Facebook, share our page, pictures and our posts and continue to raise awareness for the elephants and animals. Together we WILL make a difference! Together we CAN improve Animal Welfare and stop the cruelty! Together we CAN and WILL create a better future for the animals!

Mae Kam r e a c h e s  way up high to get to some juicy leaves

Mae Kam r e a c h e s way up high to get to some juicy leaves

As another year comes to a close and we say good bye to 2013 and a big HELLO to 2014, we wanted to take the time to Thank You ALL so much for your kindness and support!!!

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year! Happy Holidays! We hope it is filled with lots of love and joy from your human family and furry friends!!!


With Lots of Love and Best Wishes from,

Founders Burm and Emily

and All of us here at BEES!

All Photo © BEES Elephant Sanctuary

A note from Emily

Written by Em. Posted in bees blog

Founders Burm (right) and Emily (Left) with Mae Jumpee on her 1 Year at BEES/ Retirement Day!

Hello Beautiful BEES friends,

Apologies everyone for not blogging for such a long time. The internet access is very limited in our area most of the time, but with the rainy season being at its peak we are finding it even more difficult to get connection to be able to update all our beautiful followers. So this is a long blog update! There has been a lot happening the past 2 months :) Happy Reading…..  

Mae Jumpee 1 year at BEES:

It has been very busy here since our last blog back in July. Mae Jumpee has celebrated her 1 year at BEES on the 16th August. We rent Mae Jumpee because her owners do not want to sell her and she needed to be retired, BEES offers an alternative for elephants and their owners to get away from the hardships of city life and give elephants a chance to have freedom.

Mae Jumpee’s ’1 year at BEES/Retirement day’ was spent in the forest munching on natures gifts of lush green bamboo, leaves, branches and vines. She also played with mud and went swimming in the deep of the river and headed back to the project site in the late afternoon to have a nice celebration feast we prepared for her special day. She had bananas, papuas, mangoes, coconut leaves and sugar cane.

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

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

Cheeky Mae Kam got to the pile of treats first and Mae Jumpee came slowly behind. Mae Jumpee spends everyday living life to the fullest and just doing what an elephant should always have the ability to do, to just be an elephant! She is a BIG 68 years old this year and such a beautiful, wise and gentle old lady. Her age is definitely starting to show as she is always tearing her old skin, she walks very slowly and she can’t walk steep hills like younger elephants can. She spends every day out in the forest or along the river just doing whatever she fancies. We are always finding little scratches/grazes on her skin. She has spent her life in captivity and as she ages her skin weakens, it is very easy for her to get a scratch or graze that could easily become more serious. Most people think elephant skin is very thick and strong, it can be thick in some areas on the body but don’t be mistaken it is also extremely sensitive and they can feel the smallest insect bite just like we can. It is very important an elephant baths daily and has the ability to exercise natural behavior. In the wild elephant’s bath regularly, they coat their skin with dust and mud and rub off excess skin against trees and rocks.

In Mae Jumpee’s previous life working in tourist trekking she was not given the ability to bath and express natural skin care behavior daily, she has had a lot of catching up to do. Mae Jumpee is our special old lady and we love her dearly. Every old elephant deserves and needs lots of love and care. We hope Mae Jumpee has many more years with us to come. We can’t believe it has been a whole year since her retirement; the time has gone so fast!

Our rescued furry babies 

Kitty Cat Talk:

Gizmo and Tigger sit on my lap making it very difficult to work when surrounded by such cuteness

Gizmo and Tigger sit on my lap making it very difficult to work when surrounded by such cuteness

The Kittens Gizmo and Tigger rescues from San Kamphaeng are growing like crazy! I don’t know what their little lives would have been like if Nola Lee Kelsey hadn’t found them outside the temple and saved them! They are little snuggle bunnies and as I write they are both sitting with me on my lap.

Cocoa all black in color is a cat we took in last year after she was dumped on our property with an infected wound where her tail meets her spine. She was such a skinny cat in such poor condition, but with a bit of love care and attention she has grown to be a very confident and strong willed cat. She is still part stray though as she loves to go hunting and telling other cats she is boss in the village and came home the other week with a suspected cat bite that had bitten right through her ear. We cleaned it daily and she was on antibiotics for several days and it has healed now. She still gets up to mischief; she is exploring again and comes back whenever she wants a good meal and human cuddles.

Little Suki takes a trip to the vets

Little Suki takes a trip to the vets

Suki one of our grey adult cats who was in a litter we took in early in 2012, had to make a trip to see the vet on Tuesday 10th Sept. She is another explorer who loves to eat rats and find secret hide outs and come home for cuddles when she is good and ready. She came home to us on Monday very skinny, weak and dehydrated. She has always been quiet a slim cat but this time she was very skinny. She is such an affectionate and loving cat, she wanted cuddles and purred a lot when we held her but she wouldn’t take anything we offered her to eat. We took her to see the vet and she has been given antibiotics and vitamins to treat a uterine infection. We are keeping her indoors and giving her lots of cuddles and making her comfortable, hoping she will be feeling better after she finishes her antibiotics. Get better soon Suki, you have been with us for so long and like all our rescues we love you with all our hearts!   

Puppy Dog Talk:

Our student/helper Shin with Kip our newest rescue dog

Our student/helper Shin with Kip our newest rescue dog

Kip (white poodle) our most recent rescue is doing really well. She was in the local village shop, her hair was very dirty and in a knotted mess, full of ticks and fleas and when she had her first poo at BEES we found a milk carton that was in pieces that had passed through her system. We lost count after 100 ticks we spent hours pulling out of her fur. She saw the vet and was found to have a blood parasite that she contracted from the ticks. She has since put on weight, finished her anti-blood parasite medicine and is much brighter now she is well groomed and has a good diet. She is such a cuddly and affectionate dog. We are looking for a good home for Kip locally or abroad. It would be sad to see her go but she is a small dog and we feel it would be nicer for her to be with a family or individual without a lot large dogs around. Kip will always have a welcomed home here, if we are unable to find her a nice place to live. She is such a beautiful dog and loves attention, she is very mothering of the two kittens Gizmo and Tigger and loves to play with cats. If you would like to give Kip a loving home please contact us.

Our little dinosaurs:

Bubbles takes a dip in the pond

Terrapin Bubbles takes a dip in the pond

The Terrapins/Tortoises are all doing well. Holly and Bubbles the two Box Terrapins are doing really well. They have regular shell cleans and have improved greatly over the last few months. Little Holly who was in a very poor condition when rescued her from the horrible living conditions in a temple has improved a lot and she has even put on a little bit of weight, she is eating well and even though she still has a bit of weakness in her hind legs we hope with continued focus on her dietary needs she will grow strong.


We recently took on a student and helper around BEES his name is Shin and he just celebrated his 20th birthday with us on the 12th September. Happy Birthday Shin!! He is from a Karen hill tribe village about 2 hours drive from BEES. He says he has always been interested in learning English but hasn’t had any way to learn until now. Sadly, his mother passed away earlier this year and the Abbott from Wat Jiang Temple in Maechaem asked if we would take Shin in and teach him English so he could have better opportunities. Shin says he would like to be a tour guide one day. He is a very bright young man and he cares a lot for the animals. He has taken to Kip our newest rescue dog and he loves helping around the project and helping to feed all our rescued animals which helps us a lot. Today we are home to 9 Cats, 9 Dogs and 5 Terrapin/Tortoises.


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

Tree planting on the Mae Tan Temple land- Group photo with the local villagers, students, Forestry Department and the Local Government Education Department

We have been doing a lot with the community lately and it is so lovely to see the smiles on the local villagers faces when we all come together to make a difference. Last year during the rainy season BEES organized a tree planting day on the temple grounds of Mae Tan village. This year we didn’t need to organize a tree planting day on the Temple land as the Forestry Department provided the trees and the Local Government Education Department invited us to join them, it was nice to see them come together and make an effort to bring the community together. The day was lovely, there was a break in the rain and it was so nice that the kids from our English classes where there to.

Working with the community is so important to us and teaching them to have respect for the environment is such a great start to creating a better future. The Temple land is where the Temple for Mae Tan is to be built when the village bank has enough funds to allow the building of the Temple. One of our community projects we hope we will be able to help build a temple in the village of Mae Tan for the locals because they have waited so long for this. 

Home stays:

Home stay accommodation in 1 of the 6 houses

Home stay accommodation in 1 of the 6 houses

We have also been developing our home stay programs and currently have 6 houses on board. The home stay accommodation gives the local villagers a chance to benefit even more from the project and make an income as well. By having a home stay option guests can experience living with the community and actually living in a local home with the local people, experience something new and exciting but also to be able to gain an understanding of daily life here. The home stay rooms are a guest room in a local family’s house. They sleep 2 guests per room and are a similar set-up to what we have onsite; traditional local living: Mattress on the floor with a mosquito net.  We can now take on group stays, people traveling with volunteer organizations and individuals who wish to experience living in a home stay, it is also another option when we are fully booked in the onsite accommodation. We are very excited to get this program up and running, by working together with the community we form great relationships and can move forward together.


Collecting Corn from local farmers after harvest and buying pumpkins from the locals:

Pumpkin picking to help support the locals.

Pumpkin picking to help support the locals.

It is harvesting time and there is loads of corn everywhere in Maechaem, one of the biggest corn producing districts in Thailand. We have been helping the locals clear there corn stems after they have harvested and the elephants LOVE it because they get loads of corn! The farmers love it too when we come to take the stems away as it means less work for them. We have also been helping the locals who have pumpkin farms by buying their unsellable pumpkins. The pumpkins are still good, but they may have a little bit of damage, are smaller than normal or quality is not up to standard for market sale, so we buy them from them. It means all their hard work hasn’t gone to waste and they can still make a profit. We have already bought 1,100kg of pumpkin this month for the elephants as treats, for our staff and for our guests.

Well that’s all for now, hopefully we can get better access to the internet when the rainy season is over and then we can update more regularly.

If you would like to join us and help make a difference for the elephants, animals and the local community, volunteer at BEES. Contact us today! By working together we CAN make a difference!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  

Thanks for following us!

From Emily and all of the BEES Team xxx 

All Photos © BEES Elephant Sanctuary

A note from Emily

Written by Em. Posted in bees blog

Hello wonderful BEES friends,

Hello from Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee in the grass fields at BEES.

Hello from Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee at BEES.

The sky is cloudy and it has been raining heavily on and off. Sorry it has been a while internet signal is shocking here on the project and in our little town Maechaem making it very hard to update and takes hours to post photos.

The ground is muddy and slippery and the ele girls have been having an awesome time up in the forest. They have been making their way deeper into the forest the last few days because the river has been flooding. They are so incredibly smart, it’s just like they know when their is going to be a big flood so they move away from low ground and deep into the forest.

They have been finding lots of juicy bamboo to chew on and have very full tummies at the end of everyday. The rainy season is a very slippery time of year but a very beautiful one. The forest really comes alive when it rains! Its so beautiful to see the elephants have a chance to enjoy this freedom, if they weren’t here they would be chained up on a short chain all day or they would be forced to work and carry heavy baskets and take tourists for rides.


67 year old Mae Jumpee enjoys just being an elephant @ BEES

At BEES we currently rent elephants to provide an alternative for owners and elephants so neither have to endure long hard working days in the city begging or working for tourism.

It can be hard renting as we don’t yet have enough support and it can be hard finding the funds to pay the rent. We are in the process and have been in the process of setting up foundation status and their have been a few set-backs with this. It can be a struggle making ends meet every month. Not only is it hard to find funding for a project like this it is also hard because one day the owners may want to take their elephants away. We have owners sign legal contracts that state the length of rent usually being for 1 year and at the end of the contracts it is the owners legal right to make the choice to keep their elephant here or take them elsewhere, we just need to do our best to keep the owners happy. Happy Elephants + High enough rent $$$ = Happy owners.


We have built great relationships with the owners of Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee and they are very happy and incredibly impressed with the health and care that we have for the elephants and all the animals of BEES. We can only continue to try our best to give elderly elephants a chance to rest and have the ability to have freedom and eat natural food.

The elephants enjoying a lovely walk towards Maechaem river for a swim in the deep water

The elephants enjoying a lovely walk towards Maechaem river for a swim in the deep water

We wish in a perfect world that things were simple, but it’s not. Buying elephants is expensive and we don’t know where the money is going. e.g. could be used to buy a younger elephant and the cycle continues OR for owners that no longer wish to have an elephant they will want to find a new source of income. This  new source of income is usually farming and more forest is then cleared for growing corn, rice or rubber and so the destruction of forest continues.

The elephant situation is very difficult and a single organization can not make these changes for a better future for elephants on their own. If we want to make a better future for animals and elephants EDUCATION is a key factor and all people who love elephants and animals need to come together to work towards this in order to create a better future.




On a different note, the kittens Gizmo and Tigger are doing really well. They are eating well, they love rice and fish. They are still on milk feeds once a day to get their weight up, they are tiny little babies and they have been wormed so hopefully that will help them feel a little better. They have got gorgeous big eyes and they love to play together. They are too fast to get good pictures they keep turning out blurry.



Mollie wearing her incontinence nappy kindly donated by Debbie Kirk 

Mollie the disabled dog is doing really well, as she is still too small for her wheels we have been making little booties for her to protect her little legs from getting grazes, but she manages to remove them within 5 minutes and uses them as chew toys instead! Mollie has good days and bad, today she has been balancing and even taking steps. Maybe all the swimming and massages are starting to pay off. Her foot reflex is still not normal, but maybe with a little bit of luck she will be able to teach her self to walk without dragging to much.

Holly the Turtle/Terrapin has been having shell cleans and is going on a round of antibiotics in the hope we can knock out any parasites that may be causing her weakness. She is enjoying her new pond and her friend of the same species ‘Bubbles’ loves the new pond too.

BEES is a community based project that works towards sustainable community development through education and working together with the local government and community, we also help provide a home to all animals in need and care for wildlife and run release programs where possible.





Holly the turtle/Terrapin enjoys a sun soak

Holly the turtle/Terrapin enjoys a sun soak

BEES was self-funded up until the arrival of Mae Kam where a few people/organizations have kindly made donations, we heavily rely on donations and paying guests in order to keep the project going. Please come and volunteer with us and see our project and meet our rescue animals or If you would like to donate towards the sponsorship of an elephant or care of the animals at BEES then please kindly make a donation via Bank Transfer, it is currently our only available option, but we hope we will have a Paypal option available soon.

This month we had a lovely Australian couple visit BEES with 80kg of Animal Medical supply Donations.



80kg of Animal Medical Supply donations from Brisbane Australia. Thank you Karyn and Peter for your kindness.

80kg of Animal Medical Supply donations from Brisbane, Australia.

A huge Thank you to wonderful friends and supporters Karyn Steele and Peter Olliver for your kindness and organizing all these wonderful donations and bringing them to BEES.

We can’t thank you and those who donated enough for these amazing gifts!

Hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for your continued support! Gizmo and Tigger purr and meow a big thanks for following us!

Kind Regards,

Emily xx

All photos © BEES Elephant Sanctuary

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