SONTAYA NEEDS SAVING

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Look in to the eyes of this old and exhausted elephant. See the wounds on her face. Watch her as she sways from side to side, chained up next to a busy road. High storey hotels and mountains of trash surrounding her…

Her injuries, aches and pains are ignored by the hundreds of tourists clambering on to the metal chair painfully and precariously balanced on her protruding spine. Every day, this shattered old lady, stands, bracing herself as people climb all over her, as if she was some kind of scaffold. She carries them around in a circle, dragging her sore feet. The route is boring and she is depressed, but nobody sees the tears as they fill her empty eyes and roll down her hollow cheeks…

Sontaya (meaning ‘Twilight’ in Thai) is in her late fifties and this is her reality.

She is one of an estimated 4000 captive elephants in Thailand, forced to endure 12 hour days of ferrying around tourists. Food sources are limited. The heat is intense. Life is hard, but it doesn’t have to be this way….

Two weeks ago, BLES was contacted by the owners of Sontaya. They explained how tough life was for them and their elephant in the camp and asked for help. Tired of living in a constant hand to mouth existence, the owners want to retire from camp life.

BLES has an impeccable reputation within the elephant world and the fact that we are constantly contacted by the owners, wishing for a better life for their old elephants, is testimony to that.

The BLES team recently travelled down to Pattaya, to meet with the owners and examine Sontaya. Everyone agreed that Sontaya’s situation was desperate and she needed immediate retirement.

Elephants constantly collapse from exhaustion. The extreme heat, combined with lack of water, poor diet and gruelling work regimes, can and do kill elephants. Just last week it was reported that a young and relatively healthy elephant collapsed in Cambodia.

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 http://m.phnompenhpost.com/national/tourist-elephant-dies-after-collapse-angkor

We, as a global community, have the power to save Sontaya from such a shocking fate. She has served and suffered enough. Her miserable existence must end.

It is time to SAVE SONTAYA!!

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We can change the world for this elephant and her human family – will you help us?

BLES needs to secure a total of 12200 GBP – 17800 USD – 15700 Euro – 625000 Thai Baht and we need to raise the funds ASAP. Every day that passes, is another day in hell for Sontaya.

You can donate via Justgiving – https://www.justgiving.com/elephant-rescue

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via our Paypal page – https://www.facebook.com/BLESelephants/app/208195102528120/

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BLES can not save Sontaya without you. Please do not roll your eyes and turn away from this. Please do not shrug your shoulders and shake your head – you have the power to make a positive difference. So please, join us today and help raise awareness for Sontaya and all the other overworked captive elephants in Thailand. Please share Sontaya’s sad story far and wide and help us raise the funds needed. Two minutes out of your day, could change her life – now isn’t that something to feel great about?

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Trunks of love and thanks, now and forever – Katherine xx

 

 

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Ten years ago, I had a dream…

As I sit here and type this blog entry, I shake my head in disbelief. Has it really been TEN whole years?!?!

On the 7th April 2006, I moved to the small, rural village of Baan Tuek. I came here with a suitcase and a dream – to create a true sanctuary for the elephants of Thailand.

I was young and determined. I had spent the previous 18 months in the UK, founding our charity, raising funds, working a full time job and doing everything I could to prepare for my big move to build Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary – BLES.

These past ten years have been epic. BLES has gone from strength to strength and when I try and remember all that we have achieved, I feel a mixture of wonder, amazement, pride and gratefulness.

We started off with 10 acres of land and a tent – Anon, me and our four rescued dogs! Everyday we would walk the land and brainstorm ideas. We had a small team of local volunteers who helped dig, build and plant and most of those volunteers are still working with us today!

Slowly, BLES started to take shape. Everyday, I would look around me, embrace the randomness of my new, unknown life and give thanks to the Universe. We worked long, hot days, seven days a week. We were all exhausted, yet energised and excited to be a part of something so very special. Twelve months later, we officially opened BLES to the public and we havent looked back since!

Today, we provide sanctuary to sixteen rescued elephants. We have saved and secured over 750 acres of forested land and established strong, positive relationships with our local communities. BLES is a small drop in the ocean, making huge ripples. It was never my intention to be the biggest or the best. We have never been in competition with anyone and we have never cared for the politics. We avoid the dramas and trouble and instead focus our energies on empowering our mahouts, which in turn, empowers the elephants. BLES does not preach. We do not claim to be better than anyone else. We simply keep our heads down, work hard and stay true to what we believe is right. We lead by example and hope that others will want to join us in our mission to maintain a compassionate world for all the animals.

Ten years of tears, sweat, smiles, worry, work and sacrifice. Ten years of growing, learning, teaching and giving. Ten years of keeping the dream alive and always striving to improve ourselves. BLES is a work in progress and we have many more dreams to realise.

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Thank you to all our friends, old and new, for playing a part in this journey – Here’s to the next ten years and all the incredible things we will achieve together!

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