Hello Beautiful BEES Friends,

Apologies from BEES, there hasn’t been many blogs lately. It is very difficult to find the time to write blogs and post when it’s raining, being 15km from the nearest internet café, having daily afternoon English classes with local kids during the 4 weeks holiday and also now continuing with the classes now they are back at school some afternoons and weekends as well as running around after 2 Elephants, many Cats and Dogs and Tortoises/Terrapins and usually a bird here and a lizard there and all kinds of animals running around that need help. It leaves very little time to communicate using modern day technology, so this is a very looong update!

Ele girls in the forest while it is pouring rain

It has been a very busy time since the last blog; many things have been going on. We have been trying to keep Facebook as up to date as possible, so we hope you have been enjoying the pictures and the posts. Since the passing of our darling May who was a beautiful, sweet and loving black and white cat,  Daeng our red dog that has gone missing and our Terrapin Holly passing away after months of fighting shell rot and infections, it has been quiet a rough time for us and a very big year we have been through. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming and it can be very depressing working in the animal welfare world, there are so many ups and downs in every day. It may get hard but it only takes one look into the innocent eyes of an animal to come back down to earth and keep pushing on, no matter how hard it can get, the animals need us and we have to stay strong.

Elephant Talk:

We are working very hard on retiring more elephants through educating mahouts and owners there is another way and have great hope that 2014 there will be more happy retired elephants roaming around at BEES.  Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee enjoy freedom and just live as elephants should, to just BE elephants every day. They wouldn’t have this life without the help and support of volunteers and global supporters.  All elephants deserve to have a life as natural as possible given back to them, as humans we have taken so much from them, destroyed their families and their wild home, broken the babies at a young age and forced them to live a life imprisoned, in fear and discomfort.

Mae Jumpee munching in the forest

Currently there is a population of over 120 elephants in our district of Maechaem, like all captive elephants, they have been broken in and mostly kept in very poorly conditions. There are many of the elephants in Maechaem that are adults and over the years to come they will need to be retired. We have been in contact with many owners of elephants throughout the district, visited many trekking camps in which their elephants work, have spoken with many mahouts to try and educate them and make them aware of other ways of caring for the elephants. A lot of these elephants are aged, tired, overworked and in desperate need of retiring. We have met over 20 of these elephants that will need to be retired in the coming years, all elephants deserve to have a bit of dignity given back to them before their time runs out. Why in this day and age is it necessary and exceptable to continue to exploit animals for tourism or ‘education’! To put it simply.. It is NOT necessary or exceptable!

It takes time to make a change, a number of wonderful organizations all over the globe are working to create this change and a single organization cannot do it on their own. More voices are needed to make a greater impact through EDUCATION and Perseverance we CAN and WILL make the change for a better future for the elephants.

Mae Jumpee takes a sniff of BEES Founder Emily’s hand ‘Have you got something yummy for me???’ Photo By Kerstin Machel

Mae Jumpee takes a sniff of BEES Founder Emily’s hand ‘Have you got something yummy for me???’ Photo By Kerstin Machel

Hopefully by the New Year we will have news on an elephant we are trying to retire. It has been very difficult since first starting BEES to find funding to support our projects, staff and of course the elephants as we rent them to keep them out of work and in retirement. It is not easy to find funding due to the many set-backs setting up foundation status and not having enough awareness and support of our project. Due to these set- backs it has been a slow, very stressful and extremely difficult process in running the project, making ends meet at the end of each month, but we just keep pushing on. It is very expensive to keep elephants and pay mahouts (elephant care takers) to mind them as well as fund local staff, the rescuing of cats and dogs, running wildlife rehabilitation and release programs and funding educational and Community projects.

There is a very long road ahead to improving the living conditions of elephants in Thailand. Education is the key in working towards creating a better future. By working together we all can and already do make a difference. You’re all amazing people and it is because of all of you that we can raise awareness on a higher scale and can do more to help the Elephants all over the globe, all animals and our bit to help the Community in our local area.

With your help we can create further global awareness, gather much needed funding and do more for the elephants, animals and community to make positive change.

If you would like to help us there are a number of ways:

– Join and share our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/BEES-Burm-Emilys-Elephant-Sanctuary/175152789215063?ref=tn_tnmn

        – Follow us on twitter:  https://twitter.com/BEESElephants

–      – Subscribe to our blogs and share with your family and friends and ask them to share it too:  https://www.bees-elesanctuary.org/?cat=33

        –  Become a volunteer

        –  Make a donation or become a sponsor – Monetary or other (medical supplies, dogs toys, old towels and blankets are greatly appreciated, or you could donate items    to be auctioned off at a fundraiser)

Mae Kam takes a splash

Mae Kam takes a splash; Photo by Kerstin Machel

       – Hold a mini fundraiser event or online fundraiser ( have an auction item on Ebay)

        – Support elephant friendly projects (There are a number of reputable elephant sanctuaries and refuges across Thailand, do your research first)

       –  Educate friends and family before they travel so they are aware of the situation for the elephants.

Busy at BEES hard at work on the sanctuary and latest news:

We have been very busy here building the new accommodation hut for BEES. It is now finally finished and ready for our Christmas volunteers, we are just putting in electricity and the furnishings and we are good to go!  In November volunteers Keir Wingrove and Tracey Cox stayed with us for 2 weeks helping to build the new hut and we would like to say a huge thank you to both of you for giving us your time and putting in so much effort into helping build this new accommodation onsite. Keir was a great help in building the volunteer accommodation and brought many skills to the project and Tracey even got in and helped with the rice harvest on the Rinkaew Family farm. Both Keir and Tracey did a lot of hard work for the elephants, helping clear over grown grass, collected elephant pooh and swept the elephant sleeping areas several times during their stay, cut grass and corn and helped feed the elephants. They also helped washed the smaller dogs and gave worming treatments to the animals during November, Keir and Tracey were a very first 2 week guests and we are so grateful for their company and hard work. Thank you Keir and Tracey we hope you enjoy the rest of your travels and visit us again in the future!

On the 16th November and 17th November it was the Loy Krathong festival in Maechaem. We visited the night festival and markets in Maechaem on the 16th after a hard day’s work of building onsite. The moon was almost full and lots of fun was had with our volunteers. On the 17th we made Krathongs offerings to the water gods out of banana tree and leaves, flowers and placed a candle and incense on them to be floated down Maechaem river. During the evening on the 17th we also released our Lanterns with a special message to all our animals that we miss dearly. Loy Krathong was a wonderful celebration with our volunteers and we really enjoyed their company!

Kim Thompson join the elephants on a walk through the forest

After Loy Krathong on the 18th November we were hit with heavy rain storms which have done a lot of damage to the rice crops in the local area. The villagers were worried that if the rain kept on coming they may not have enough rice to see them through the year. Luckily it stopped, a lot of rice was damaged but most families salvaged enough to keep for the year but were unable to make a small profit by selling some bags of rice.

The last week November we were joined by a wonderful new friend of BEES, Kerstin Machel who has kindly passed on some incredible photos from her volunteer stay which you can see in the pictures on the edge of the blog. She was a great help in cleaning the Tortoise house and feeding them daily. She also joined us in cutting grass and corn for the ele girls and helped clean the elephant area daily. Thank you so much Kerstin for sharing your beautiful and very professional photos of your stay at BEES.

Then in early December we were joined by a short stay guest Kim Thompson who kindly gave us some great advice on raw feed and species specific diets in domestic animals. It was Kim’s first visit to Thailand and she was not at all interested in riding elephants and has been spreading the word to other tourists about thinking twice about riding elephants and if they wish to see elephants to visit reputable elephant sanctuaries instead.

Mae Kam and Mae Jumpee pop their heads out of the forest for a pic 🙂

Kim helped us go pumpkin shopping for the ele girls and also helped offloading the pumpkin goods, cutting and cleaning the pumpkins and feeding them to the ele girls. Kim got in and helped re-assure Mae Jumpee whilst we medicated her forehead for an old wound that keeps flaring up, we have been medicating on and off since Mae Jumpee arrived at BEES. It is a wound that tells a lot of stories of Mae Jumpee’s past time, elephants skin may be thick but it is highly sensitive and in elderly elephants and can take a long time to heal, even once healed can still flare up again. Every afternoon after her daily wash down we have been putting on a rehydrating cream to help to soothe, protect, rehydrate and heal the dry sensitive skin on her head.

To all our volunteers of 2013 THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for joining us this year and helping us to build on our sanctuary and to achieve our very important work here in Maechaem, rural Thailand for the elephants and all the animals. Together we can achieve great things!!!

Foundation – Non-Profit Organization Status:

Volunteers Keir and Tracey hard at work clearing the elephant sleeping areas

We have been in the process of setting up the foundation for a long time now. We are finally making progress and have moved forward one big step and hopefully not too many more to go! Over the next few weeks we should have our PAYPAL account back up and running, we will be setting up a sponsorship program in the New Year and will be back in action for accepting donations via easy payment. We apologize for the delay, as we know many of you have been waiting for this to be set up for many months. Watch this space!

Animal Rescue talk:

The puppies Pai Lin and Panda are both growing very quickly, they have already caught up to Miss Mollie. Our newest rescue Nong Whan is settling in well and has become friends Pai Lin and Mollie but is still struggling with finding her status amongst the bigger dogs. All the animals are all well, the bigger dogs are still fighting for their places in the pack and have been acting very strange since Daeng’s disappearance.  The jungle can be a dangerous place full of many poisonous snakes and insects. We miss Daeng dearly and keep hoping by some miracle she will come home but we have finally come to terms it is unlikely.Mollie is doing really well. She has gained a lot of strength in her hind legs over the previous months. we continue to give her massage every day, work on building strength in her hind legs and take her for swims down the river and it is now 6.5 months since we found her dumped down the river and left to die. She is such a little fighter, she can now stand and can even take steps, as the day goes on she does grow tired and begins to drag her legs, but drags much less now she has developed strength and muscle! Although she still urinates when she gets over excited or nervous, she has improved greatly, we are so proud of little Mollie and hope she continues to build strength and can get to a point where she doesn’t drag anymore, although she will never walk normally we hope we can get her to a point where she will be able to live as normal live as possible. A few months ago a kind supporter Debbie Kirk donated specially designed nappies,  that have been a great help to Mollie in her healing process, she now only needs them on long drives, thank you so much Debbie for giving Mollie this comfort.

Mollie in her new booties

Recently Mollie was given a great gift, donated by a wonderful friend and supporter Karyn Steele who earlier in the year got Mollies wheels donated and brought over an amazing 80KGS of medical donations that were donated from vets, animal suppliers and loving people from all over Australia for our rescues, the  excess luggage was kindly sponsored by Azran Osman-Rani CEO of Air Asia, Thank you Azran! The most recent and beautiful gift Karyn gave Mollie was heavy duty doggie hiking booties to help protect her little feet from getting scrapped. They look super cool and definitely help her a lot, they are made by a great company called ‘Waggle’ in Australia- The full name of the boots are Rufflewear Polar Trex Boots . Thank you so much Karyn for your incredible support for all the animals and for making warm doggie coats for the rescues for winter too. A big Thank you to  www.waggle.com.au for supplying these incredible booties for doggies all over the world! Mollie lives a very special life with the kind support of all of you. Thank you!

It is very cool here at the moment, every morning we wake up and the mountains are misty and it takes a few hours longer to see the sunshine and warmth. The winter season is here, a season that thank fully only lasts about 2.5 months in this area.  Doi Inthanon the highest mountain in Thailand, which is visible from BEES site and located only about 20km actually gets frost on the peak, the dew freezes because the very peak can sometimes get below 1’C and can get 3 inches of frozen ice. We sometimes get the cool breezes off the mountain making it very chilly for the animals. We have started making blankets and beds for the rescue animals at BEES and have been lighting fires for warmth too. Our old lady dog Gong loves to lay next to a warm fire to keep her warm in her old age!

Please keep following our progress on Facebook, share our page, pictures and our posts and continue to raise awareness for the elephants and animals. Together we WILL make a difference! Together we CAN improve Animal Welfare and stop the cruelty! Together we CAN and WILL create a better future for the animals!

Mae Kam r e a c h e s way up high to get to some juicy leaves

As another year comes to a close and we say good bye to 2013 and a big HELLO to 2014, we wanted to take the time to Thank You ALL so much for your kindness and support!!!

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year! Happy Holidays! We hope it is filled with lots of love and joy from your human family and furry friends!!!


With Lots of Love and Best Wishes from,

Founders Burm and Emily

and All of us here at BEES!

All Photo © BEES Elephant Sanctuary