Bring the Elephant HOME Education Tour Starts

Antoinette van de Water's Web site, Bring the Elephant Home, features information about the project, including a blog so you can follow the tour. (See link below.)

Bring the Elephant HOME, a Dutch organization founded by Antoinette van de Water has started her education tour. Together with two elephants the "elephant rescue team," which consists of 8 people, will make their way through the heart of Thailand (including Ayuthaya, Lopburi and Sukhothai). The group will stay at temples and hold workshops at local primary schools. Showing the beauty of the elephants and the Thai culture the team hopes to raise awareness about the importance of nature conservation and the problem of elephants on the street.

Bring the Elephant HOME was founded as an educational and publicity campaign to support the elephants in Thailand.

The elephant is an animal so beloved in the hearts of all people; and plays an important symbolic and cultural role in Thailand. Unfortunately, the same Asian elephant is today under threat. Due to loss of its forest habitat, the Asian elephant is now endangered in the wild. The traditional lives of domesticated elephants are limited these days because of modernization. Unless action is taken, the elephant will not survive another generation.

The project aims to promote real alternatives for the future of domesticated elephants while providing adequate support for their mahouts and families who depend on the elephants for their survival.

Antoinette van de Water: "We want to promote sanctuaries that are good for the elephants by building natural environments and also good for the country by encouraging positive and eco friendly tourism."

Van de Water has been involved in elephant care for nearly four years. As a volunteer, she has helped the award winning sanctuary Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai and has done research on the issue of street elephants. For carrying out the Bring the Elephant HOME project, she started to promote elephant friendly tourism and raised funds in Holland two years ago.

On the Web:

At the elephant Round Up in Surin last November, van de Water bought two elephants who were suffering a life of roaming on the streets. Douk Ngern (6) and Sri Nuan (35) are the lucky ones, who will now start their journey back to nature.

During the journey, the small caravan will demonstrate the cultural richness and sheer beauty of Thailand and its elephants. The elephants will be moved by trucks and will be given lots of time to relax, bath, eat and gain strength before they arrive at their new home. At the Elephant Nature Park, they can move freely, have families and live the rest of their lives as elephants!

Van de Water: "The aim of our tour is to reawaken people's compassion and love for elephants, giving them the auspicious honor they deserve. We also hope to encourage tourists to travel north and meet the elephants in their natural habitat."

Aims of the Project

  • Help creating a better future for begging elephants.
  • Getting understanding of and attention for the problems of elephants in Thailand.
  • Reawaken people's compassion and love for elephants and stress the urgent need for their protection.
  • Showing natural and animal-friendly alternatives for tourists to meet elephants.
  • Increasing awareness of the elephant conservation issue in Thailand.
  • Promoting eco-tourism in Thailand.
  • Raising extra funds for animal-friendly and sustainable elephant projects in Thailand.
  • Buying land to secure enough safe living space for other elephants that need to be saved from the street.