Sponsor Sai Thong


Sponsor Sai Thong from Care for Elephants for 6 months. By sponsoring this beautiful elderly elephant you are helping to purchase elephant food for her, during the Covid-19 crisis.

Sai Thong was born in 1967, according to documents, but looking at her physical condition it is likely she is older. Sai Thong was bought and sold several times before being rescued and coming to live at Care for Elephants, as far as we can trace her history.

She used to work as a logging elephant in Tak Province. Her body is a map of scars caused by injuries from dragging heavy logs on chains. She has old wounds on her head from being beaten with a hook and  old wounds on both her sides – pressure sores caused by rubbing against a knot or chain joint. The skin under her neck has been stretched and sags as a result of the terrific force of dragging logs.

When the Thai government banned logging, Sai Thong was brought to work in the tourism industry. She worked at a trekking camp serving tourists in Pattaya for many years. Sai Thong had a saddle strapped to her back all day and would walk the same in monotonous loop with two people atop her back and a mahout sitting on her neck, coercing her with strikes of a bullhook so that she would not deviate from the path. There were no breaks for Sai Thong during the day – one set of customers was immediately replaced by another until day’s end. Sai Thong’s only chance to feed during this time was to eat a few plants growing by the side of the path. She could stop for a drink at a small pond beside the walkway and then had to continue walking. When her mahout would stop to eat lunch, another mahout took his place. In the evening after work, Sai Thong would be chained up in the open area and be able to eat grass before sleeping. After working in elephant trekking for decades Sai Thong developed back and skin problems from the weight of her load and the constant rubbing of ropes that held the saddle.

SKU: ELS_006 Category:

Care for Elephants has been operating since 18 July 2015, with the aim of rescuing elderly elephants to come to live at the project. This ethical elephant project works in cooperation with Save Elephant Foundation and it was through Khun Saengduean Lek Chailert that they heard about Sai Thong, an old elephant in Chonburi province, who the owner wanted to sell and subsequently arrangements were made for her rescue. Lek provided a team of veterinarians and a truck for transporting her. Sai Thong’s journey from Chonburi province to Care for Elephants near Chiang Mai began in the afternoon of January 26, 2018, and took approximately 20 hours.

After Sai Thong came to her new home at the Care for Elephants, it took her a while to adapt to her new life and several months before she got along with the other elephants. Sai Thong has a habit of being possessive with food, especially fruit such as bananas and watermelons, perhaps because she’d been deprived of fruit for so long.  Before her rescue, the main food that Sai Thong ate was corn and wild plants. At our project, we also prepare supplementary food for the elephants such as rice balls which contain ripe bananas, tamarind, sticky rice, corn, rice bran, salt and pellets for elephants. Sai Thong especially loves these health balls. Sai Thong’s teeth are quite worn, so the food we give her must be chopped into small pieces and easy to chew.

Sai Thong has a calm nature and also a tendency to copy the behaviors of other elephants. For example, when she sees another elephant rubbing against a tree she will often go and scratch herself against the same tree. Sai Thong will live at Care for Elephants for the rest of her life and will have the chance to spend time in nature, freely interacting and enjoying a more natural and happy life.

As a sponsor you will receive a sponsorship certificate by email and as well as a few photos of Sai Thong in thanks for your kind support.

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