Published on March 7th, 2015 | by admin
The Bring the Elephant Home Foundation Wants to Prevent the Extinction of a Prominent Species
While on a trip to Thailand in 2002, Antoinette van de Water met two beggars who would change her life. The word “beggars” may conjure images of people struggling with poverty, illness and other social problems, but in Thailand, this word can also apply to elephants, who are used to draw money from tourists.
The two young elephants van de Water met during her trip had suffered numerous abuses, and one was still performing on the streets. Upon her return to her home in the Netherlands, she decided to find a way to help return elephant beggars to the jungle while also educating people about their plight. This goal eventually became the Bring the Elephant Home Foundation, an organization that promotes the survival of this endangered species through social and environmental change.
In 2005, van de Water led a highly publicized rescue of two abused elephants, Sri Nuan and Dok Ngeon, which featured elephant lessons at Thai schools, art competitions, and meetings with local government officials. Sri Nuan and Dok Ngeon were eventually released at a sanctuary, called the Elephant Nature Park, where they remain to this day.
Meanwhile, Van de Water became the subject of numerous news reports and media campaigns, which she used to launch the new face of Bring the Elephant Home. Today, the organization works to improve elephant survival in Thailand by restoring natural habitats, promoting eco-friendly tourism, developing alternatives for people who traditionally use elephants, and mitigating conflicts between humans and elephants.
Bring the Elephant Home also works to promote the ethical treatment of elephants in captivity. By accomplishing these goals, the organization’s members hope that they will be able to prevent the extinction of the Asian elephant, which has long been threatened by habitat loss, abuse and other human action.