Sunday, October 31, 2010


*A firm commitment to keep this small herd out of working camps and in the forest*
GVI is extremely pleased to announce it’s committment to fully fund the rescue of 5 elephants, effective Oct 2010. These elephants have entered the Elephant Vet Aid Outpost (EVAO) Forest Reintroduction Program and are monitered by GVI Volunteers under direction of Dr Grishda Lungka, DVM.

„This initiative exceeds our finances at present but we felt it necessary to make a long term commitment to the program and the community we are working with. By rescuing these 5 elephants, now we can be sure they are well cared for and will remain securely in the forest reintroduction program and that the families of the elephant owners and the mahouts have a secure alternative income.“

- Steve Gwenin, GVI Field Director

GVI is excited to make this firm and long-term commitment, made directly with the elephant owners themselves, whereby three female adults – Thong Dee, Mah Na, Boon Jan – and two male infants – one-year-old Pee Mai, five-month-old Song Kran – are provided for with 5-year renewable contracts. Agreements have been reached with the owners to increase the size of the herd as more funding becomes available.

With this agreement, all five individuals will be completely exempt from trekking, street-begging, shows, camps, or work of any kind, and will be located in the natural forest surrounding the village of Huay Pak Kood in Mae Chaem District of Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand. There, GVI Volunteers assist local mahouts in caring for the elephants, and monitor their progress in the Forest Reintroduction Program.

Attended to by their mahouts in as natural an environment as can be provided, these elephants freely forage for a major part of their diet. They also recieve access to professional elephant veterinary care provided by EVAO.

These elephants exclusively funded by GVI have not been bought, but are hired from their owners. Thus, not only are the elephants themselves financialy secured, the elephant owners, the mahouts, and their respective families are provided for in a stable and ethically sound manner. This is a community lead initiative, where mahouts and owners desire a better future for their elephants.

GVI was formed in 1998 to provide support and services to international charities, non-profits and governmental agencies, through volunteering opportunities, internship programs, training and direct funding. They own and operate more than 150 volunteer programs in over 40 countries and are one of the world’s largest independent volunteer program providers. Every year over 3000 volunteers join GVI programs that last from 1 week to over 1 year.