Dear BEES Friends,
WOW we have had an incredible month of highs and lows here at BEES!
Mae Kam looking pretty!
In the last Blog you heard a little bit about the Australian film crew being here at BEES for 3 magical days of filming the elephants and interviewing Burm and I. We are very excited for this to be released later in the year, but for now it still is top secret. We hope it will bring great awareness for the elephants and BEES projects but as we mentioned before they weren’t just here for the elephants!.
On Sunday 23rd I returned to Thailand after 12 days of Non-Stop elephant talk! Whilst in Australia with the wonderful help of my Mother Celia we completed the first load of paperwork to apply for Non-Profit Charity status and put in the application which is now under consideration by the Australian government. Fingers Crossed we will be an up and running non-profit soon!!!
On the 20th February I was interviewed by Andrew Priestly a Northern Beaches Journalist who published an article about BEES in the local Daily Newspaper The Manly Daily and online in the Daily Telegraph. My beautiful little 84 year old Nana Cynthia organized this and I am so grateful for her loving and kind heart. We do hope that this little article helped just make a little difference to such a big problem. Elephants must be protected and we MUST be their voices!
After such an incredible month it is so great to be home with all the animal rescues, the staff and of course the elephants!
It is well and truly into the dry season now, the forests are burning and on the 1st March we got quiet the scare! On the way back from a big long walk to Maechaem river we could smell smoke, the sky was black over the burning forest and it was right on top of the hill above BEES place. The Mahouts (elephant caretakers) took the elephants back down the stream to safety in a cool place with some greenery left to munch on until the fires passed. Shin (our student and great help) and Cherry (our mahouts wife) rounded up all the animals to keep them safe. It was a very long day and we got the elephants back when it was safe to return around 6pm. The last few nights the hills surrounding us have all being glowing orange in different spots, the whole of Maechaem seems to be on fire right now!
The fires burnt right through the forest that the elephants graze in.
Fundraising for the desperately needed new Vehicle – update:
The incredible Karyn Steele has been doing such kind and incredible work in setting up the fundraiser to raise much needed funds for the desperately needed new BEES vehicle. So far just over $4000 has been raised! Karyn has also been designing posters to be shared on Facebook and templates for collection boxes that can go in schools, offices, supermarkets, post offices and anywhere really where people may see it and like to donate. Huge Thank you Karyn again for your continued support and for just being an amazing friend of BEES.
A Special Thank you also to Renee Roberts for her fundraising ideas and trying to help with rasing the funds, also a big Thank You to Lori Sirianni who designed a great Facebook poster to share around to help with fundraising.
If you wish to donate please donate through PayPal by entering [email protected]
Running an animal sanctuary isnt easy and I have to be perfectly honest, I am afraid that we cant and wont survive without funding, the fear and worry is constantly on my mind. Month by month we just get by and I hate to think what will happen if one month we cant afford to feed our animals. Each and every single cent counts and makes a difference! BEES purely rely on donations and paying guests in order to keep the project going, we are in the process of being registered as a Charity Foundation but this take times. Thank you to everyone who is donating, we cant continue this on our own. Also if you would like to support us why not become a volunteer? Please contact us today if you wish to volunteer, visit the Contact Us section on our website!
The ele girls grazing in the fields. Together we can and already do achieve great things!
BEES and SANTISOOK Cat and Dog rescue are joining forces this month for a big Operation Sterilization at BEES:
In the last 8-12 months BEES has been taking on a lot more cat and dog rescues we can hardly keep up! Santisook and BEES are joining forces on Saturday 15th March to Sterilize BEES rescues and as many as we can from our local village. BEES and SANTISOOK share the same idea when it comes to animal welfare, to keep animal populations in control and to care for the animals that have been abused and mistreated and give them loving homes where they can enjoy the rest of their lives.
For this Sterilization clinic we will be joined by Diana Dammery an Australian vet Nurse, a great friend and supporter of BEES who will assist us with this huge task! Diana has been running the Sugars for Sterilization Event on Facebook for Sydney siders in Australia; she has been making beautiful old style toffees and selling them with the proceeds going towards the running costs of this Mass Sterilization. This sterilization clinic wouldnt have been possible without Dianas dedication and love for all animals big and small, she has raised the funds or the sterilizations and vaccinations for BEES rescues. Thank you so much Diana for your kindness and for always being there as a great friend, a lot of BEES animal rescues have lived through serious emergency situations because we have been able to call Diana at any time day and night to ask advice. BEES is located 2.5hours drive from the nearest veterinary doctors and clinics, without Diana we wouldnt have been able to assist the animals to keep them alive before seeing the vet, we are so grateful for Dianas help. Thank you Diana for being such a great friend!
Rescued Animals of BEES Update:
We always expect the unexpected here in Thailand especially in the dry season. The weather has changed from warm during the day and freezing cold at night to boiling hot during the day and cool at night, soon it will be boiling hot during the day and night!! The little animals just dont do well with all the temperature changes, the temperatures have changed drastically in the last three weeks and every year we see local village dogs fatally ill for different reasons, but most commonly dehydration and parasites because of lack of preventative and health care. This year the ticks are also really bad, every day will pull off 10 or more ticks from our dogs despite the fact that they get medicated flea and tick wash and preventative treatments regularly. Here is an update on a few of the doggies that have been unwell or were being treated for injuries.
Panda and Pai Lin the cheeky two!!!
BEAR: Bear was a bit sick whilst I was away in Australia with severe dehydration and was not eating well. Burm was able to give him SC fluids and put him on a cause of Antibiotics and now Bear is back to his normal self. He has also grown a lot taller and is very active and making friends with some of the other rescues including the cats!
Toto: Earlier in February Toto got into a big fight with a local village mans dogs in the middle of the night which resulted in a large open wound from an aggressive bite from the other dog in left hind leg. His antibiotics where continued and Burm and Shin cleaned the wound daily until it healed over. He now has a very big scar, but is walking around well.
Newest Rescue Puppy Robin: Has lost a lot a bit of weight over the last few weeks and also needed antibiotics and fluid injections to keep her hydrated, we think it was the same bug that Bear had. She is very strong now though and we are working on getting her weight back up.
Milo (left) and Lucky (right) snuggling up together!
Pai Lin: Pai Lin also took a bad turn last month and lost a lot of weight again, her health was a bit more serious than Robin and Bears and she had to be kept separate from the other dogs. We suspect Pai Lin has a blood parasite and so started her on Antibiotics specific to treat blood parasites and she is looking a lot better, the colour is back in her gums, she is keeping hydrated, has an appetite, is starting to gain weight and is looking great! She also loves getting her bone shaped doggie biscuit treats!
Son: The leader of our pack who got a severe wound which partly de-gloved his front left foot is healing really well. He finished his course of Antibiotics and the skin flap healed and rejoined to the top of the paw and is closing over, so not too much damage has been done. Although he is a very difficult patient, he did take all his antibiotics (unknowingly in food) and has done very well. He is no longer limping around and is walking normally which is great as we were very worried he had done some real damage!
Mollie our beautiful little disabled dog: Mollie has been doing really well lately. We still give her rehabilitation therapy daily. Massaging her legs taking her for walks in her walk-about harness that supports her back legs whilst walking a longside us. She is so strong willed and has such a playful personality. We just love her to bits. She now stands on two back legs when she is eating, sometimes one and balances with the left hind leg up lifted up. She gets around very wobbly earlier on in the days and then is dragging again by the afternoons. We have seen great improvements since her rescue and she keeps surprising us everyday!
Did you know??? Elephants eat roughly 250kg of food per day
Kittens Justine and Tracey are growing up so quickly! They are exploring more and more every day and love to snuggle up with the big kids Lucky and Milo.
Dani, Suki and Cocoa are the little explorers and come back home whenever they want good food or cuddles, but recently Tigger has started to explore a lot more too. Gizmo and Tigger usually go everywhere together and it is so strange to see Gizmo here on his own, all of these rescue cats are outdoor cats and until we can have the funds to build secure facilities they are able to wonder wherever they please. We worry about them all the time and spend hours out calling them when they dont come home for 3-4 days. Mee Suuk is also known to disappear, but usually you can find her sleeping in a guest hut. Milo and Lucky are always snuggled up in the Managers hut and are very lazy in heat!
The little dinosaurs:
Hahns, Bubbles, Ronald and Shelly are all doing great! They just sleep all day, come out in the afternoon to get some sunbaking in and then off to bed again after some fruit and vege. Bubbles the Terrapin has been spending a lot more time in the pond on these hot dry days. He loves to swim and also loves to watch the little fish swim by that we have placed in the pond too.
The Passing of Poor Kratuu:
On the 4th March we received very sad news, Mae Jumpees owner for 68 years passed away. The passing of Poor Kratuu has left us at a loss for words. He was such a kind and generous man, he really loved Mae Jumpee and when he came to visit her the last time he ever saw her, he cried, he was not strong from his serious health problems, mainly from what we know it was an unhealthy kidney, but he said he was so pleased to see Mae Jumpee so happy, grazing in the field and living the way an elephant should live, just as an elephant! It brings tears to my eyes when I think, that was the last time he saw her, it was his last memory of her, which was about 6 months ago and he was on the way to the hospital and insisted his son stop on the way so he could see her. We went to visit Poor Kratuu a few times since his last visit to Mae Jumpee, taking him donations of snacks and small money donations to assist with his treatments. He always asked how Mae Jumpee was and said he would come to visit her when he felt strong. About 4 weeks ago he went back to his village to continue his treatments from home; sadly he took a turn for the worst earlier in the week and passed on the evening of the 3rd March at 72 years old. It was his dying wish for Mae Jumpee his elephant that he had been with him for 67years before retiring her to BEES to return to his village at least one more time before she passes for a Traditional Karen Ceremony Mut Muur Suu Khwam, so the family could give back to her and pay respect to her. Poor Kratuu has left 4 sons and 2 daughters behind. The oldest 2 sons will now become Mae Jumpees new owners. The family has said they dont want to move her back for the ceremony right now, but would like to move her over the next year just for a short period of time 1-2 weeks. Poor Kratuu wanted her to live out her days here at the sanctuary, but wants his family to be able to pay respects to her and her mspirit in her birth place and to ward away the bad spirits and to bless her, the family and the village in which she was Born. In order to do this she must return home.
Sweet Poor Kratuu, We will always remember you.
Karen people have done this for centuries and we have to respect this Traditional. All of the elephants that come to BEES temporarily or long-term for a rest or to be retired, if we are renting them, they are owned by someone else, if they are from Karen Hilltribe they will mostly likely return home to ceremonies every year or second year, we have to respect their ways and work with the people in order to insure a safe future for the elephants.
If we were to offend their culture how would we be able to get anywhere positive and be able to move forward, we MUST work in harmony with the people, focus on building strong friendships with owners and in the long term it will make the world of difference! We haven’t talked a lot about the ceromonies in the past because we had hoped that the elephants wouldn’t have to go, but even Mae Kams owner has also said many times in the last 6 months that he would like to bring her home for a ceremony soon because usually he would have done this every year before she was retired, there is no date for this yet and may not happen this year but if and when it does we will do everything in our power to ensure she is kept out of work and returns home to BEES. We believe in being completely honest and truthful with all of you because this is a Tradition and something we feel we must respect. These ceremonies occur once every year, it is a tradition and a way of paying respect to the elephants, to the spirits and blessing the village. Although we dont want the elephants to leave for any period of time, the main thing to remember is at the end of the day, we have made a difference because these owners have taken the opportunity to entrust the care of their elephants in our hands to give them the freedom their elephants deserve, to take a much needed rest from from work, and most will still want to keep their elephants out of work and in Sanctuary in the future because we all have an understanding and built strong friendships!
On the 5th March we traveled to Poor Kratuus home, Mae Jumpees Village in Ban Huey Pakuud to pay our respects to him and his family, it was such an overwhelming feeling of sadness, saying goodbye to a man that was one of the first to gain an understanding of our project, our goals and understood what we are trying to achieve here. It was a very difficult thing to say goodbye to him, I had to hold back the tears and stay strong because the rest of the family were in his home grieving his passing also, all of them sad faced but no tears. I never knew I would be so affected by this beautiful mans passing, it really was so hard to say goodbye, I cared for him deeply and Im so sad he is gone. No one deserves to go through that kind of pain and suffering. I will never forget him and his kindness, for entrusting us to care for his elephant, for giving us a chance and for believing in what we do. He had been with Mae Jumpee for 67 years before he retired her, he was 5 years old when she was born. They must have seen and been through so much together. When we found out about Poor Kratuus passing we went home and told Mae Jumpee, elephants are incredibly intelligent beings and have emotions very similar to humans. I think she understood what we were telling her, I could see the tears in her eyes. Looking into her sweet innocent eyes, I felt her blow out a deep warm breath of air onto my arm, I wonder if it was a sigh of relief and sadness all in one. Her owner and caretaker for so long is now at peace.
Sweet Poor Kratuu, Rest in Peace our dear friend, we will never forget you!
Mae Jumpee out on a walk through the forest and down to the river.
The elephants are really feeling the heat! Every day now they spend their time close to the stream or down near the river. Because the forest is all burnt it is too dry for them to eat too deep in the forest, we will now have to wait for the rain and everything to become green again. So we have bought a banana tree farm from a local villager, he doesnt use these banana trees and they are growing on his farming land. By purchasing these trees it helps the owner to provide for his family and we dont have to travel very far to find supplements for the elephants, in the past we had to travel up to an hour to find Banana trees. Now we just have to Travel ten minutes down the road and every day the elephants can enjoy sweet juicy Banana trees!
Mae Jumpee has been having coconut oil rubs on her head daily for an old hook wound (she worked in trekking for a long time and the hook was used on her head every day), scars like this take a long time to fully heal. The skin is very dry and sensitive and when she rubs it against some trees or rocks, it opens, becomes infected dries and scars. It is a really dry sensitive area and is always in the sun. The coconut rubs are really helping it heal well. With the coconut oil rubs daily and weekly scrub downs with a native vine that has healing properties, Mae Jumpee’s head should be much better in the next few weeks.
Mae Kam communicating with Mae Jumpee after playing with the tire she found in the river
I think the heat is getting to us all lately! Last week Mae Kam found a tire at the bottom of the river bed and brought it up out of the water and kicked it all about all over the sandy river bank. She had such a great time, but its seems as though Mae Jumpee really didnt like her playing with the tire and missing out on all the fun and so she let out a short low grumble and Mae Kam walked straight over to Mae Jumpee flicking the tire behind her and gave her a good long sniff and touched her bottom and breasts with her trunk, almost as though to reassure her that everything was alright! Elephant communication is so incredible!!!!
Thats all for now BEES Friends!
Thank you all for your kindness and support, please continue to spread the word! Together we CAN and already do MAKE a difference!
Emily and all of us here at BEES big and small xx
All Photos © BEES Elephant Sanctuary