Sanctuary

BLES is located off-the-beaten track in the rural village of Baan Tuek in northern Thailand. It is situated on over 400 hundred acres of forested land that encourages the elephants to interact and breed in a natural environment. Consisting of mature banana plantations, grasslands, open fields, fresh water rivers, and all types of fruit trees, BLES provides the elephants with a bounty of stimulation, exercise, and time to enjoy what is rightfully theirs.

As an eco-friendly environment aiming toward self-sustainability, BLES has embarked on a program of tree planting. In 2008, BLES planted over 3,000 trees, all of which will enrich the elephants’ lives. Not only does this vegetation provide

the elephants with their favorite foods, it also acts as shade to protect the elephants from the heat of the day.

Hand-constructed by local craftsman and mahouts, the BLES living spaces are built of sustainable materials primarily collected from the land. In addition to a main meeting house, gift shop, kitchen, and outdoor-dining pavilion, the three guesthouses are in perfect proximity to take full advantage of the sights and sounds of the elephants.

This unique sanctuary is just that to the elephants— a haven that allows them to simply be. There are no rides, shows, or painting projects — just elephants who have finally been allowed to live with dignity and respect.

Snapshots

  • BLES founders Katherine and Anon share ideas about BLES landscaping.
  •  Each mahout enjoys a home at BLES complete with elephants.
  • BLES supports the local community by employing craftsmen from its neighbouring village.
  • Without hooks or chains, BLES handles the elephants with respect.
  • BLES's determination to preserve the environment has ensured that this view will never change.  Photograph: Peggy Dyer
  • Our elephants enjoy daily baths in the pool that was created for them by BLES.  Photograph: Peggy Dyer
  • Where it began — BLES when Katherine and Anon first discovered the property.
  • One of the BLES guesthouses built by local craftsmen from sustainable materials.
  •  Guests may be visited by strolling elephants.
  • Mother and daughter enjoy their freedom strolling the grounds of BLES. Photograph: Peggy Dyer