Pattaya, Chonburi –
Five elephants and their unemployed mahouts (elephant trainers) that had started walking home from Pattaya to Surin and Buriram, a destination of hundreds of kilometers, are now traveling in style – on trucks with one more elephant on their way home.
The five elephants from Banglamung in the Pattaya area had begun walking over 500 kilometers to their home in Surin after their mahouts and family had been unemployed for a year due to the lack of foreign tourists in Thailand and the Covid-19 pandemic. They were walking as their trainers were completely out of money and said they had no other choice. They had previously worked at elephant attractions in the Pattaya area for several years primarily performing for Asian tourists, who have since been unable to come due to border closures and mandatory quarantines.
Read more about our previous story in the link below.
Today, (April 9th), the Thai Elephant Alliance and a generous anonymous donor have provided six trucks to move those elephants and one more elephant in the Pattaya area on their way to Surin and Burirum.
One of the elephant owners, Mr. Bancha Homean, 26, said thank you to the Thai Elephant Alliance who made this possible and helped his family, friends and the six elephants avoid a potential several weeks walk to their home provinces. The mahouts, who said they treat their elephants like family members and who many of them have worked with the elephants for their entire lives, said they are returning to farming in Surin and bringing their elephants with them to enjoy nature and relax in a spacious home environment. When asked if they planned to return to Pattaya if tourists were allowed to return without quarantine later this year the mahouts were non-commital, only saying that for now they had struggled for a year and it was time for everyone, especially the elephants, to take a break.
Join the discussion in our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/438849630140035/ or in the comments below.