Elephant Retirement Home

we allow captive elephants to retire from stressful working situations, to live a more natural life in the forest, while monitoring them and providing necessary veterinary care

Where do the elephants come from?

Captive elephants are owned like livestock, and they are extremely costly to care for. They are leased to tourist camps to make an income, but many elephants in tourist camps are not getting enough of the correct food, they are not able to exhibit their natural social and foraging behaviors. They are still wild animals, and can be dangerous so they need to be controlled by bull hooks in these environments to keep the tourists safe. They have their calves taken away at a young age which causes massive psychological issues for this intelligent family oriented species. We work with willing elephant owners, to provide an alternative livelihood to these tourist camps, mutually beneficial to elephant and owner.

Where do the elephants live?

The project is located in the Karen hill tribe village of Ban Mae tala Neau, in Kanlayaniwatthana (Galyani Vadhana district). At around 1000 meters above sea level, the forest is a mixture of lush evergreen and deciduous, with beautiful streams. Here, the elephants are not working anymore, they are roaming deep in the forest and able to display natural social and foraging behaviors.

Captive elephants in Thailand may always need tourism, but it can be done in a sustainable and mutually beneficial way for owners and elephants.

These elephants are foraging freely in their natural habitat. The elephants are given verbal directions when needed, and there are no bull-hooks used to control them. During the day, elephants are free to roam, with their mahouts nearby to prevent conflicts with villagers or farms. The elephants are not forced to interact with volunteers, but they are accustomed to human interaction and elephants are naturally curious, so they are free to interact if they choose. 

Volunteers hike into the forest daily to observe the elephants in their natural habits. They measure social and foraging behaviors so we are able to learn about the individual elephants and provide the best care possible.

Elephants are highly intelligent and social animals, and the Elephant Retirement Project allows them to thrive in natural environments.

→ Happier, healthier elephants

The elephants roam unconfined all day, not controlled through pain or fear.

→ Elephants expressing natural behaviors

Able to forage freely throughout the day, the elephants can act like they would in the wild.

→ Sustainable

Allowing the elephants back into the forest is mutually beneficial, elephant welfare is greatly improved and we are able to also support the community.

Our Elephants