“I want to rescue an elephant” is an easy declaration to make, but the reality is something few people truly understand. To some extent, the term “rescue” has been glamorized. “Rescue an elephant” embodies a romantic image that doesn’t begin to account for the mercenary factors involved. The rescue of elephants is a dangerous, clandestine, and unpredictable commitment. Negotiating a sale is complicated and delicate. If cash isn’t provided immediately, owners become suspicious and are quick to change terms and demand more money.
Possible rescue candidates are identified through a variety of means — from alerts by good Samaritans to owners contacting BLES directly. When a possible rescue candidate has been identified, BLES approaches the often elusive owners to initiate discussions. This can take months as the owners may equivocate, change payment terms, and in the case of street elephants, frequently go into hiding for fear of governmental reprisal.
Once a price has been agreed upon, BLES must locate the funds, a constantly demanding undertaking.
BLES does not have a storehouse of savings, so each rescue initiates a global outreach of phone calls, e-mails and social media. Timing is crucial, and despite our best efforts, the funds are not always forthcoming. For every elephant BLES has successfully saved, another has been lost. Sometimes the owners get a better offer. Sometimes the funds just don’t come. Sometimes the elephant dies. It really is that simple. If we don’t have the funds, we can’t save the elephants.
Pang Tong (Mrs. Gold in Thai) is the mother of the Sanctuary’s namesake, Boon Lott, and the matriarch of the BLES family. Her life before BLES was filled with abuse and distress. When Katherine and Anon met her owner, he proudly shared his personal story of beating, starving, and working
Somai is a rare case of an elephant donation and was the first arrival to BLES. One of the few lucky elephants left in Thailand, he was used for sustainable logging and well cared for by his village owners.
Lom (Umbrella in Thai) is the life and soul of theBLES family. Since her arrival at BLES in July 2006, she has enchanted everyone with her bouncy, bubbly, and boisterous ways.
Mare Boon Mee (Mother of good fortune in Thai) is the oldest member of the BLES family.
Pang Noi (Miss Little in Thai) is the smallest of our adult females and our most ambitious rescue to date.
Star’s birth on September, 18, 2007 was cause for huge celebration. Not only was she the first calf to be born at BLES, she was the first calf to be born in our village of Baan Tuek.
Seedor Yai (Mr. Big in Thai) is massive, standing an impressive 2.8 metres and weighing 4 tons.
Pang Suai (Miss Beautiful) is in her thirties and one of the newer members join the BLES family.
Bles was first made aware of the plight of two street elephants back in June 2008 when Katherine received a heartfelt email from Jan Tunks.
Wassana The rescue of Wassana (Fortune) was full of dramatic twist and turns and emotional ups and downs.
Pang Dow Naam Chok (Lucky Star) has endured more abuse than most twenty-something female elephants.
Beautiful Lotus (Bwua Ngam) is another elephant that had fallen victim to cruelty and neglect.
Seedor Gam has spent most of his 30 plus years hauling logs in the notoriously tough logging trade.
Somsri (Gentle Lady) is an elderly 70 year old female who was discovered, dangerously thin and covered with sores and fresh wounds, working in a Pattaya trekking camp by BLESfriend and supporter Sarah Blaine.
It took months of planning, hours of driving, negotiation delays with owners and government officials, and plenty of fundraising to bring Boon Thong home to BLES.
Naamfon was rescued by BLES on 24th October 2014. Aged 63 years, she had been working as a trekking elephant, giving rides to tourists for 10 years.
This young bull has added a wonderful spark to our herd. He is in his thirties, and has loved the freedom that BLES offers since the day he arrived.
Moo’s owner has worked along side him for 16 years while they logged together in Thailand’s forests.
This majestic bull in his sixties came to BLES in December 2015 along with three other bulls who were living locally in our community.
When Katherine announced that she would be rescuing four bulls simultaneously, she received an outbreak of claims that she did not know what she was doing and that this was going to end badly for the sanctuary.
Sao Noi was chained up all day long in the strong, relentless thai sun , in a barren, rubbish filled corner of a trekking camp in Pattaya.
This gentle, social elephant in her fifties was rescued from a riding and trekking camp in Pattaya, Southern Thailand.