"Foodbank: Battle For Survival" is calling for donations to bring immediate relief to many elephants in Thailand that are being neglected and literally dropping dead from starvation due to the lack of tourism.
This global campaign was recently launched by world-renowned animal welfare activist Dr Jane Goodall in collaboration with Chiang Mai-based Save Elephant Foundation founder Lek Chailert, with the aim to provide emergency funds to purchase and distribute locally grown food to as many remaining elephant camps as possible.
Since March last year, Thailand has shut its doors to tourism due to the Covid-19 pandemic and this has forced over 3,500 elephants into 24-hour leg and neck chains with little or no food or medical care. Now, the surviving jumbos are facing starvation in shackles, inching another day closer to death.
Dr Goodall is extremely moved by their plight.
"I hate to think of the suffering of these noble, gentle animals. The thought of their pain is horrible," she said in her appeal which can be viewed alongside the campaign details at jointrunksup.org/foodbank.
According to Lek, also the founder of Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, the captive elephants of Thailand have little time left.
"Already, many are collapsing and dying in chains. This requires a dire effort and a compassionate response from all those who love elephants," she said.
Around 240 elephant camps existed in Thailand pre-Covid, offering rides and demeaning circus-style performances by captive elephants.
While there has been a massive ongoing international campaign by animal welfare groups to phase out such exploitative activities, the abrupt long-term loss of tourist revenue has left camp operators, elephant owners and the animals, abandoned.
A year ago Lek's foundation, with the financial support of Trunks Up, courageously stepped up with an emergency food purchasing and distribution campaign to help support 223 camps, aiding 1,826 elephants and 1,600 elephant keepers. Without assistance from the government, their resources would have been depleted within months.
Trunks Up is a dedicated branch of the Abraham Foundation, a certified 501(c)(3) organisation leading global awareness and fundraising efforts for Save Elephant Foundation and its founder.
To donate, visit jointrunksup.org/foodbank.