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5 elephahts

Home > About Our Founder

About Our Founder

31 March 1999
Always ready to help

Lek's bio - More about elephant nature park founder Lek's Bio
Message from Lek - elephant nature park founder Message from Lek
How I became and elephants mother How I became an elephants mother!

Sangduen Chailert (Lek) was born in a small rural mountain village of Baan Lao. Situated some 60 km from Chiang Mai, provincial capital of the same named province. She was educated locally achieving a BA from Chiang Mai University. From humble beginnings, hard work and sheer determination has brought her to forefront of efforts in Asia to save the elephant.
One of Lek's passions is photography Lek tends to a sick elephant cleaning weeping from her eye Lek gives the salt ration to an elephant.
Snap happy Eye cleaning Salt rations

Questions and Answers

Why elephants - what's so special about them?

My grandfather had an elephant to help him with farming chores. Thongkhum (golden one) was his name and he was like a member of the family. I've loved them ever since. Their keen family bonds, individual personalities and kindness are only part of the reason. It takes a stone heart for those lucky enough to work with elephants not to love them. I'd like you to come to see my elephants. You'll see for yourself then.

What inspired you to start the elephant project?

I had been helping owners of other small camps to find unemployed elephants (ex logging). During this time I saw the poor conditions that they lived under, the cruelty and suffering and felt I could provide a better place for them. This was one of the main reasons why Elephant Nature Park came into existence.

What type of Special groups have visited Elephant Nature Park?

We've had PATA, World Vegetarian Conference, eco-adventure conferences, various international broadcasting companies, Thai TV channels, TAT, , Smithsonian magazine etc. I manage these groups/press personally.

How often do you give talks on elephant conservation?

Four to five times per month, mostly in Thai but some in English. I enjoy schools as the affection that children have for nature and such is heartening

What other elephant projects are you involved with?

Jumbo Express and, in the near future, Elephant Haven.

Can you give me some idea of what these projects involve?

Jumbo Express is a field clinic that goes out to elephants in the forest to administer health care. Injections and cleaning cuts as well as other more serious problems.   This project goes out to elephants in need in the jungle. Sometimes the paths are hazardous and involve over 4 hours of trekking. The are impassable by vehicles. Without Jumbo Express assistance many of these elephants would die. Elephant Haven is a project that takes care of old and sick elephants, a place where they can live with dignity.

How are you funded?

Elephant Nature Park visitors contribute to keep the elephants and oxen fed and healthy. Gem Travel gives most of it's profits to keep the others going.

What is a typical day like for you?

Everyday is different but hours typically 06:30 - 23:00

Is there any elephant that is particularly special to you?

They are all special, All have personalities quite different and I feel like they are family.

Finally, what are your views on the future of the Asian Elephant?

They are not very good I'm afraid, less land available and elephants begging in the cities. They are facing a tough time and, if we don't do something now, the elephants won't be with us for much longer.

As I left her I felt that, with this small woman on their side, the elephants had a strong ally and maybe there was hope for them yet.

Preparing Salt for the elephants

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