Creating Awareness and Respect for Elephants is an initiative led by Mahouts Elephant Foundation.
One focus of our work is to raise awareness to the suffering endured by captive elephants working in the tourist industry. The lives these elephants endure is so far removed from how they would be living in their natural habitat that it is heart breaking. Their mahouts and carers are frequently pushed into poverty and left with very little control over their own lives or indeed the life of the elephant in their care.
Using a combined approach of working "WITH" mahouts and creating sustainable and welfare focused projects on the ground we also use our skills and knowledge to raise much needed awareness.
We work widely to raise awareness speaking at events and conferences raising awareness about the welfare isues facing captive working Asian elephants and the poverty trap their mahouts find themselves in. Co Founder Sarah Blaine has spoken for the past two years at the annual Animals in Tourism event in London, at the AITO conference and at a conference in Vietnam.
We have worked for many years forging positive long term realtionships within the tourist industry, we have a good relationship with ABTA and many UK tour companies. Explore have supported our work for the past 2 years and have recently sponsored our stand at Destinations London and Manchester.
Gap Year Fairs
We recently attended a series of Gap Year Fairs at independent schools in the UK, aimed at school leavers. These young people are the next travellers to Asia, the next generation of teachers, parents and they will be the ambassadors of the future for not only elephants but all wildlife and their rapidly vanishing habitats. The fairs were a HUGE success and we will be expanding our focus to similar events including travel shows.
TOURISM CARES DOCUMENT
Our tourism document looks at many different aspects of the effects of elephant tourism, it is a tool for those in the tourist industry and travellers to Asia to use to equip themselves fully on the current situation for elephants and mahouts. It has taken many years of research to gather the information and format into a workable document. This will be an ongoing tool and will be updated accordingly. It has been endorsed by many experts in the field and we hope will help tour companies to look at the programmes they offer to their customers.
We have produced an information leaflet explaining our role and the support we are looking for. Please feel free to download and help spread our message.