Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Boon Chew Inherits Mana

Boon Chew has been a mahout with our project since April 2011. He is a local to the village and just recently graduated from the Huay Pakoot primary school this year. Despite only being 13 he has excelled as a mahout and is being taught by the wise Patti Saiee (our head mahout) traditional elephant management techniques. He started off in the project working with Bpee Mai, our 3.5 year-old infant who is a playful little - or not so little - elephant! Since June Boon Chew has taken over as a mahout for Mana and has told GVI staff that he hopes to make mahouting his career.

At our last GVI village meeting Mana’s current owner, Sumchai, told us that he was giving Mana to Boon Chew, his nephew. This is great news for Boon Chew and for the project! By owning Mana, Boon Chew will benefit more financially and also ensure his own career as a mahout. For the project it means that two of our three adult female elephants will be owned by their mahouts. This is beneficial for the elephant because the elephant owner often has greater stake in the long-term wellbeing of their elephant than a hired mahout. Additionally, this means that our project is enabling two elephant owners to work in their home village, instead of far away from family in elephant camps. We look forward to seeing Boon Chew develop more as a mahout as he takes on his new role of elephant owner.