What We Do
BLES strives to rescue and protect the elephants of Thailand from abuse and ultimate extinction. We provide a safe home where we focus on individual survival and growth in numbers. BLES allows elephants to interact in a natural environment that encourages breeding. Additionally, we offer support and advice to local elephant owners who may lack sufficient funds to care for their animals. We are deeply committed to our village community and provide jobs and housing to several mahouts and their families. We encourage local participation in BLES activities and promote education about elephants and their plight as well as the environment. To realize its mission, BLES has targeted goals in protection, expansion, and education.
BLES is on constant alert to investigate any reports concerning elephants in need. Katherine personally travels throughout Thailand in response to abused elephant sightings. She will do whatever is necessary to provide relief to these animals, and when possible, arranges for their retirement to the Sanctuary.
When rescuing an elephant in distress, BLES organizes transportation, communicates with qualified veterinarians, finances medical aid, and provides support to elephant owners. BLES takes full responsibility of a rescue from inception to completion.
Each rescued elephant is partnered with a mahout who is carefully selected to work with that elephant depending upon its rehabilitation needs. The mahouts are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As the natural habitat of the Thai elephant is rapidly diminishing, BLES seeks to purchase land as it becomes available near the Sanctuary. We strive to create space for our elephants and recognize their need for variety in diet and exercise.
With a healthy balance of cows and bulls, BLES hopes to welcome more calves conceived by natural, not forced, mating. In September 2008, BLES celebrated the birth of its first calf. It was also the first calf born in the village.
BLES is serious in its intention to support local elephant owners. In Thailand, there are few medical facilities that specialize in elephant husbandry. Those that do exist are located in the northern and southern regions of the country, offering little help to the elephant population of central Thailand. BLES is ideally situated to establish an on-site clinic to remedy this crisis. We plan to host a rotation of trained professionals and veterinary students to support our full-time staff.
When complete, the BLES clinic will offer opportunities for veterinary students to study elephant care and medicine, where such hands-on experience is scarce. We endeavour to provide education on all aspects of the Asian elephant.