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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
Donate via PayPal: email@example.com 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
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