Homecoming after 20-years: Thailand elephants return ‘home’ as tourism stutters

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Thailand Elephants Return Home As Tourism Stutters - We The World Magazine

Sadudee Serichevee owns four elephants in Thailand’s Ching Mai. They run Karen Elephant Experience park in Chiang Mai’s Mae Wang district. But now, they’ve ‘lost all hope,’ and are now bringing their beasts back ‘home.’ 

More than 100’s of Thailand elephants are reportedly released to trudge back home from their usual tourist-hotspots, as the novel coronavirus upends millions of jobs in Thailand, including that of the elephants. 

Due to the vacuum created in tourism, camps, and sanctuaries that tend the elephants are lacking funds for their upkeeps. Hence the journey back home.

Thailand elephants return green pastures as tourism stutters due to covid 19
More than 100’s of elephants are reportedly released to trudge back home from their usual tourist-hotspots (Photo by Kameron Kincade on Unsplash)

Maintaining elephants in Thailand can be pretty expensive, with feeding and associate costs touching 200,000 bahts, or $6,250, as told by a local keeper to Associated Press.  

Thailand elephants return home after 20 years

An elephant eats 300 kilograms of grass and vegetables, and the stagnant tourism industry has paused the needful flow of revenue to feed and care for these beasts. 

This has convinced some owners and the gentle beats to hike a distance of more than 150 kilometers from all over Chiang Mai to Mae Chaem, their homeland which is dotted with small villages and has enough pastures for the elephants to graze upon. 

The Save Elephant Foundation, an NGO, operating from the northern province of Chaing Mai launched the project to bring the employed elephants back home after their owners appealed for it, the founder of the foundation told. 

Sadudee Serichevee said: 

“These elephants have not had a chance to return home for 20 years. They seem to be very happy when arriving home, they make their happy noises, they run to the creek near the village and have fun along with our children,”

Last month, more than 40 elephants returned to their homes from a district in northeastern Thailand ‘s  Surin province. 

Since the outbreak started in January. Thailand has recorded all total 30,17 infections and 56 deaths, Devdiscourse reports. This week on Tuesday, Thailand recorded two new cases, one in Bangkok and the other in Narathiwat.