JDM Earth provides ongoing support to Mahouts Elephant Foundation by organising and attending educational, marketing and fundraising events on their behalf.
The Foundation is very close to our hearts and has developed a model that is paving the way for ethical elephant tourism in Thailand whilst bringing together communities, preserving natural habitats and providing a beautiful forest life for elephants that previously worked hard within the tourist industry.
Walking with Elephants is a project that was developed by Sarah Blaine, Felix Blaine and their beautiful children Natasha and Joe. They bring together not only their passion for elephant welfare but also the importance of empowering communities, elephant welfare and the preservation of the natural habitats via a model of ecotourism.
Elephants have been part of Thai culture through the ages but after the logging industry was made illegal in 1989, around 2000 mahouts found themselves out of work overnight. This lead to the commercialisation of elephant tourism and the exploitation of both Mahout and elephant by large business owners.
Commonly, elephant tourism in Thailand involves elephant riding, elephant bathing, watching elephant shows/painting along with street begging. Most tourists travelling to Thailand want to see an elephant, ride an elephant, touch an elephant, bathe an elephant. What they are not aware of is the harsh training that the elephant may have been through and the poor conditions that the elephant and Mahout live in order to serve the tourists needs.
Mahouts Elephant Foundation is working hard not only to change the lives for the captive Asian Elephant but work closely with the elephant’s owner/caregiver (Mahout). They also collaborate with/advise tour operators/companies on the importance of ethical tourism for the sake of elephants and people alike.
Their mission is to provide a more ethical model of ecotourism that supports an autonomous life for the elephant, habitat conservation and provides a dedicated income source for Karen Hill tribe mahouts and their families without compromising elephant welfare.