Goodbye 2020, Here’s to 2021 being a better year for all!
Dear BEES Friends,
As 2020 comes to an end we wanted to take some time to reflect on this crazy year, a year that we were forced to switch to survival mode and tested many of us in ways we never thought it could. Covid-19 caused all our plans at the sanctuary to come to a standstill, Tourism came to a halt which meant that we had no visitors on our programs. With no visitors meant we had no income and with endless expenses running a sanctuary, our already limited reserves quickly ran dry. With the lack of tourism in Thailand, many elephant facilities and mahouts/owners were majorly impacted by the sudden loss of income. As a result, many facilities were forced to close, some never to open again. While others took measures to survive the crisis through laying off staff and trying to cut expenses. A few hundred elephants returned home to their owner’s villagers, while hundreds of others remained in the camps nearby the cities. All now still waiting for tourists to return. The lives of many have been severely affected and many Mahouts/Owners and Facilities were struggling to even feed the elephants. Luckily, many Government bodies, Non-Profit Organizations and Individuals have come to the aid of the Elephants over the last 8 months to ensure they got fed.
With no end in sight the future is still very uncertain, but one thing is for sure, despite these challenges our Team is more passionate now then ever and we will continue to do all we can to help the Elephants, Animals and the Community.
BEES Elephant Foundation was in the process of fundraising and building an Animal Hospital in the town of Maechaem when Covid-19 hit, unfortunately the Foundation only raised enough funds to build an office area. Further plans have had to be abandoned during this time. We desperately hope to return to fundraising and building this project later in 2021, thousands of animals need help in Maechaem and we will not give up on them. From Spay and Neuter to preventative medicine to road accident treatments to treating transmissible venereal tumors – TVT Cancer we will do all we can to continue to provide outreach care to these animals and hope to be able to do so on a larger scale once a hospital is built.
We hoped 2020 would be a year that more elephants were retired to BEES, sadly when Covid-19 hit we could not make this a reality. With your help we hope 2021 will be a year more elephants can join a peaceful retirement at BEES Elephant Sanctuary.
2020 was a crazy, challenging year with the world being shut down in March and tourism came to a halt, which was followed by flash flooding that spooked our eldest elephant Thong Dee back in April, causing her to hurt her hind leg/hip. Then Mae Kam and Mae Dok had to be separated at nighttime as they started dueling and getting extra pushy with each other in their night enclosure when night feed was placed out. We also had to make the heart-breaking decision to suspend some of our team indefinitely and this has meant that only essential tasks have been completed with limited hands.
But 2020 wasn’t all negative. In March we celebrated Mae Dok’s one-year retirement. In April BEES Elephant Foundation was approved on PayPal which meant that you, our wonderful supporters could now contribute via another easy method. By the end of May, Thong Dee our eldest Elephant who injured her leg/hip during the flash flood in April, had been receiving lots of TLC and improved enough to start taking jungle walks again and is almost back to her normal self now, although older and frailer. On the 1st June we celebrated 8 years with Mae Kam and 8 years of Elephants at BEES. When we had to separate Mae Kam and Mae Dok at night time this didn’t affect their daytime routine, they still spend each day roaming and foraging side by side and by night they have their own private bedrooms where they can enjoy their night feeds without having to share. In August we celebrated 2 years since we announced our complete hands-off approach on our visitor programs which completely came into effect on the 1st December 2018, a momentous step forward in our mission to encourage higher welfare for elephants in captivity. And on November 22nd we celebrated Thong Dee’s 6-year retirement.
What a year!
Let’s not forget one of the most important things that happened in 2020 as a whole, which was further global awareness on environmental and animal welfare issues, especially the plight of captive elephants.
We hope 2021 will be a year of achievements, a year where we can make a positive impact in the lives of more Elephants, Animals and the people who live and work with them.
One of our many plans for the New Year is to upgrade the living facilities for our wonderful Head Elephant Caretaker Aner and his Family. The 4 children are out growing the facilities in which they now live, with two of the children now in their teens. The building they currently live in is made from Bamboo and recycled wood. It has been damaged a few times in storms over the years and worn over time due to termites etc. They knew the Sanctuary was struggling this year so they took it upon themselves to fix some of the problems by using recycling items to fix up the hut. We provide Aner with a good wage, the current house has electricity, running water, a t.v, a refrigerator and we provide them with a large sack of rice, noodles and fish each month. Aner is very modest, he has never complained about the housing and is always very thankful for what he has access to and for a safe place for his family. He is such a hard worker and dedicated to caring for Mae Kam fulltime as well as helping oversee the management and care of all the retired elephants at BEES. We feel it’s time to upgrade their housing so they can have more comfort and space.
Would you like to help us build Aner and his family a comfortable new home?
We hope to raise enough funds to purchase the materials needed and pay the workers to build the house in the first couple of months of the new year. If you would like to help the Head Caretaker and his family have a brighter 2021 you can help Build them a new home – Support Here:
Or if you would like to help the sanctuary directly in other ways you can purchase gifts for Elephants, Humans and Animals on our wish list pictured below by sending the selected amount to PayPal or Simply Giving with the description e.g #BuyingWinterWooliesAndToysForChildren
Make Payment for an item on the wish list via PayPal – https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/BEESElephantFoundati
Make Payment for an item on the wish list via BEES Elephant Foundation on Simply Giving:
Let us know if you are purchasing an item on this wish list on behalf of someone else and need a gift certificate to gift that person for Christmas we can arrange one specially for you.
As 2020 comes to an end we wanted to Thank each and every one of you who has supported us, through donating, following us, liking and sharing our posts.
Without you, we could not have survived 2020.
It’s been a very challenging year, but thanks to you – our wonderful supporters near and far as well as organizations such as World Animal Protection, GIVE Foundation, Action For Elephants UK and International Wildlife Protection who came to our aid, we have been able to make it through this far.
We are so grateful for all the kindness and support we continue to receive from across the globe. We are extremely grateful for our staff for their kindness and understanding during such a challenging year. We hope we can have everyone return to their normal roles later in 2021.
We are wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Together let’s make 2021 a great year!
The BEES Team
(Humans, Elephants as well as the three and four legged rescues)