WorldWomenWork Adventures: Thailand with Lek and Save Elephant Foundation

WorldWomenWork Adventures Thailand with Lek and Save Elephant Foundation

THAILAND with Lek and Save Elephant Foundation

January 28-February 10th 2020

On this once in a lifetime trip through the beautiful country of Thailand, we will tour Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. While in Chiang Mai, we will spend two days with Lek Chailert of Save Elephant Foundation at Elephant Nature Park. We will get to meet some of the elephants and learn about Lek’s work to save elephants from abuse. This is a small group tour and space is limited. Get in touch to inquire about pricing and availability.

Itinerary:

Tuesday Jan. 28 - The Great City of Angels, Welcome to Bangkok

Wednesday Jan. 29th - Bangkok multi-transport adventure

Thursday Jan. 30th - Morning liquid Bangkok headlights adventure

Friday Jan. 31st - Flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Saturday Feb. 1st - A day with Lek at Elephant Nature Park

Sunday Feb. 2nd - A day with Lek at Elephant Nature Park

Monday Feb. 3rd - Chiang Mai countryside walking, and Thai kitchen live dinner at Rim Tai Kitchen, the Four Seasons Chiang Mai

Tuesday Feb. 4th - Lamphun and Lampang temples and villages

Wednesday Feb. 5th - Lampang’s mountain top temple

Thursday Feb. 6th - Flight from Chiang Mai to Hanoi, and a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake

Friday Feb. 7th - Hanoi inside and out

Saturday Feb. 8th - Hanoi backstreets adventure by vintage minsk and water puppets

Sunday Feb. 9th - Transfer to Ha Long Bay for an overnight on Bhaya 7 cabin boat

Monday Feb. 10th - Back to Hanoi and onward

Community Based Conservation Efforts in The Northern Great Plains

Male longhorn bees sleeping on grassland vegetation. Image courtesy of WWF US / Clay Bolt

Male longhorn bees sleeping on grassland vegetation. Image courtesy of WWF US / Clay Bolt

All wildernesses speak the same language, if you know how to listen.

Since 2010 on average over a million acres of grassland have been plowed up across the Northern Great Plains for row crop agriculture…. It rarely makes headlines. Where is the public outcry?
— Clay Bolt/WWF NGP Program

The Northern Great Plains is one of the world’s four remaining intact temperate grasslands. Made up of 180 million acres in the US and Canada, it is home to countless species, including the endangered black footed ferret. Keeping the grasslands intact is crucial to conserve biodiversity. Keeping these lands as grasslands also means less fertilizer runoff from row crop agriculture, more carbon absorption, and cleaner streams. 
 

Black-footed Ferret. Image courtesy of WWF

Black-footed Ferret. Image courtesy of WWF

One WWF initiative is to restore populations of black-footed ferrets to the region. The biggest threat to the black-footed ferrets is the sylvatic plague that is rampant among their prey - prairie dogs. To grow the black-footed ferret population to sustainable numbers, we must help WWF raise funds to mitigate the plague. 
 
Plague mitigation at Fort Belknap, in Montana, the 6th federally-designated black-footed ferret reintroduction site, and the first reintroduction to occur on Tribal land costs $25 an acre. With 2000 acres at this site, it costs $50,000 annually. Additionally, annual prairie dog and ferret monitoring and vaccination costs $35,000, for a biologist and technicians. 

In South Dakota, WWF is working with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe's Department of Natural Resources and Game, Fish and Parks to reintroduce black-footed ferrets. The goal for this project is to build a common understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing communities and Tribal programs alike that leads to the creation of an inspiring, community-supported conservation area. 

Dinner in South Dakota with the WWF Northern Great Plains Advisory Committee. Image courtesy of WWF 


Another aspect of WWF’s NGP Program is sustainable ranching. When properly managed, cattle and bison can have conservation benefits, as grazing maintains the health of grasslands, improves the quality of the soil and keeps the land as a possible wildlife habitat, instead of turning it into cropland. WWF has been working with ranchers throughout the Northern Great Plains region to develop more holistic practices in ranching. During our Advisory Committee Meeting, we had the most wonderful dinner out in the plains with some of the ranchers. It was catered by Kimberly Tilsen-Brave Heart, an amazing woman of Oglala Lakota Nation of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

We must never forget the fragility of this most magnificent land. We must listen. 

An Update on Yai Boon from Elephant Nature Park

Yai Boon, recovering at Elephant Nature Park. Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Yai Boon, recovering at Elephant Nature Park. Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

You may remember Yai Boon, a 70 year old, skinny and overworked elephant, who was rescued last month by Lek Chailert and brought to Elephant Nature Park. We were overjoyed to get an update on her condition from Lek this week, who says that she is doing much better.

Yai Boon, before her rescue. Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Yai Boon, before her rescue. Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Yai Boon, recovering at Elephant Nature Park. Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Yai Boon, recovering at Elephant Nature Park. Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Yai Boon, recovering at Elephant Nature Park. Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Yai Boon, recovering at Elephant Nature Park. Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Big Gains for Yai Boon after four weeks. Her weight has improved almost three hundred kilograms. Not only food can do this but her recovery is aided by love and care, rest and medical attention. Soon she will be healthy again.
— Lek Chailert, Save Elephant Foundation
Yai Boon, recovering at Elephant Nature Park. Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Yai Boon, recovering at Elephant Nature Park. Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Ewaso Lions: Saving Lions In Northern Kenya

Photo courtesty of Ewaso Lions

Photo courtesty of Ewaso Lions

The African lion population has declined by 43% in the last 20 years and lions now occupy only 8% of their historical range in Africa. The estimated number of lions across Africa is as few as 20,000, with numbers now less than 2000 in Kenya. Please join us in supporting Ewaso Lions , an important organization working with communities to save lions in Kenya. We are excited to announce that an amazing donor has generously pledged a matching challenge grant of $4500, please donate today to help us reach this goal and give Ewaso Lions the support they desperately need to save these special and endangered animals.

This Challenge Grant will fund Ewaso Lions including:

$80 a month for one teacher’s salary

$150 a month for the Mama Simba Coordinators

$150 a month for the Warriors salaries

$405 a month for an Ewaso Lions vehicle

$3000 for Lion’s Kid Camp for 25 kids for 5 days

At current rates of decline, the species could become extinct here within the next two decades. This reduction in lion numbers is primarily due to habitat loss and conflict with humans, typically when lions kill people’s livestock. Lions and other large carnivores are wide-ranging species and designated protected areas are often not large enough to ensure their long-term survival. Therefore, it is crucial that conservation of these species, as well as their prey, is addressed throughout the landscape, which not only incorporates protected areas but also the surrounding areas where local people live

Ewaso Lions is dedicated to conserving lions and other large carnivores by promoting co-existence between people and wildlife. We work hand-in-hand with local communities to provide education, training and improved conservation practices that help people and wildlife. We use sound science to help guide the long-term conservation of lions across community conservancies and protected areas in northern Kenya.
— Ewaso Lions
Herding children playing the conservation game, crawling blindfolded and masked through the burning bush © Danni Parks / Ewaso Lions

Herding children playing the conservation game, crawling blindfolded and masked through the burning bush © Danni Parks / Ewaso Lions

Ewaso Lions promotes the co-existence of people and wildlife by working directly with local communities to provide education and conservation. Their programs include the Lion Kids Camp, Warrior Watch, and Mama Simba. This past year they expanded to three new conservancies, and 10 lion cubs were born within the Ewaso Lion Conservation Landscape (map below).

The Lion Kids Camp was created to inspire a whole new generation of wildlife conservationists. Since 2015, 10 camps have run with the next generation featuring a combination of wildlife education, safaris and conservation-themed games and activities.

The Warrior Watch plays a vital role in monitoring wildlife and stopping conflict between humans and lions. In 2018 there were 699 patrols, 4,684 km of foot patrols covered, 1472 direct sightings of wildlife, 32 times lions were saved from the imminent threat of death, 64 times warriors responded to human-lion conflict. Jeneria and the other warriors were featured on a recent episode of Wildlife Warriors, which can be watched in it’s entirety here.

The Mama Simba is comprised of a group of 19 women, led by the Mama Simba Coordinators Munteli & Mparasaroi. Together with other women in their communities these women are true powerhouses and they spread the conservation message, report on lion sightings and conflict incidents. This past year, the Mama Simba visited the Maasai Mara to learn new ideas for conservation in the Samburu.

Key to our empowerment strategy is giving women exposure to new places and experiences, so they can infuse fresh ideas into the way they want to do conservation. The Mama Simba ladies’ visit to the Maasai Mara signals to us a sea-change in how they think about their landscape. While they gasped with wonder at topis, wildebeest and rhinos - animals they had never seen before - they lamented the extensive
fencing across the Mara and its implications for livestock and wildlife. Having seen their first pride of lions in the Mara - a whopping 22 strong pride - they returned more determined than ever to speak for the lions of Samburu. And speak they did. Even before they got home, the women who had long been voiceless, called conservancy managers to tell them what they had seen, and to set up meetings where they could talk about conservation. With their eyes wide open, and their voices louder than ever, the possibilities for the Mama Simba ladies are endless.
— Ewaso Lions
Mama Simba Kenya
Mama Simba Kenya
We saw more animals than we could count in the Mara. There is a lot of food for lions there, as opposed to Samburu where we have very little prey. But wildlife is facing major challenges in the future because of land sub-division and fencing. I would hate to see this happen to our land. Wildlife corridors will soon be lost and this will be very unfortunate.
— Munteli Lalparasaroi, Mama Simba
Map of Ewaso Lions conservation landscape, courtesy of Ewaso Lions

Map of Ewaso Lions conservation landscape, courtesy of Ewaso Lions

New to the WWW Shop: Elephant Nature Park Coffee

Elephant Nature Park Coffee

For all the coffee and elephant lovers in your life, we are excited to announce that we’ve just started stocking Elephant Nature Park Coffee in our shop.

We are now carrying 12 ounce bags of whole bean Karuna Medium Roast by Elephant Nature Park Coffee, which has chocolate, spicy and bright notes. By drinking this coffee you are directly supporting a world changing cause.

100% of profits from this coffee support Lek Chailert and Save Elephant Foundation’s Elephant Nature Park and the rescue and restoration of abused Asian elephants. This Thai blend contains coffee that is shade grown by hill tribe farmers in Northern Thailand as part of a reforestation, community development, and women’s empowerment initiative.

Elephant Nature Park Coffee
Elephant Nature Park Coffee

This coffee is perfect for weekends at home, or as a gift for a special someone. Stock up and support this important organization!

Elephant Nature Park Coffee

Community Based Conservation with Grevy's Zebra Trust

“Grevy's zebra foals and their protective mothers are inhabiting Naibelibeli plains in high numbers- over 20 very young foals were seen during a drive out to the plains yesterday morning. It is a testament to the good rains and plentiful pasture in Westgate Conservancy. The foals survival will be dependent on the onset of the rains in April, replenishing the diminishing pasture and water resources that are subject to increasing competition from livestock, wildlife and people as the dry season extends.” Image and caption courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust

“Grevy's zebra foals and their protective mothers are inhabiting Naibelibeli plains in high numbers- over 20 very young foals were seen during a drive out to the plains yesterday morning. It is a testament to the good rains and plentiful pasture in Westgate Conservancy. The foals survival will be dependent on the onset of the rains in April, replenishing the diminishing pasture and water resources that are subject to increasing competition from livestock, wildlife and people as the dry season extends.” Image and caption courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust

The Grevy's Zebra Trust conserves the endangered Grevy's zebra and its fragile habitat in partnership with communities. Grevy’s Zebra Scouts monitor them with GPS recordings. There are estimated to be just over 3000 Grevy’s zebras today. WorldWomenWork supports the 19 women scouts. These ladies are part of the WorldWomenWork Nkirreten Project which is equipping local women with the skills to produce their own reusable and biodegradable sanitary pads. This also ensures that girls are not missing out on school due to lack of sanitary pad supplies.

It’s been a while since we’ve shared an update about the important work that Grevy’s Zebra Trust is doing in Kenya and Ethiopia, but in the meantime they’ve been busy. Earlier this year Grevy’s Zebra Trust launched their strategic plan for 2019-2021 to conserve and grow the Grevy’s Zebra population in Northern Kenya.

The entire Grevy’s Zebra Trust Team - photo courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust

The entire Grevy’s Zebra Trust Team - photo courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust

The new GZT Strategic Plan has put our activities into laser-sharp focus for the next three years! Our Mission? To conserve and grow the Grevy’s zebra population in northern Kenya.
To achieve this, every single member of the GZT family needs to be aware of the new strategy and the objectives and goals that will help us achieve our mission.
With 96 GZT family members at camp last week, we internally launched the new strategic plan through an incredible and inspiring two days of team building, where the activities focused around the major components of the plan. This has given us the strongest base to achieve conservation success.
— Grevy's Zebra Trust
Photo courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust

Photo courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust


Besides our women-focused scout program, GZT has also encouraged the local Nkirreten women in the Wamba region to participate in safeguarding their endangered Grevy’s zebras while also economically empowering themselves through the production of reusable sanitary pads. The dignity of the communities’ women and school going girls is preserved while the unique black and white stripped pads help spread the mission of our conservation efforts.
— Grevy's Zebra Trust
“As part of GZT’s school outreach program, our Wamba Regional Coordinator, Andrew Letura was accompanied by Jamarose, one of the Grevy’s zebra scouts to Ngaremara Primary School where pupils had an interactive session on how they could contribute towards the conservation of the endangered zebras in their local communities.” Caption and image courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust.

“As part of GZT’s school outreach program, our Wamba Regional Coordinator, Andrew Letura was accompanied by Jamarose, one of the Grevy’s zebra scouts to Ngaremara Primary School where pupils had an interactive session on how they could contribute towards the conservation of the endangered zebras in their local communities.” Caption and image courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust.

“In Sukuroi zone, Westgate Conservancy, community members have been voluntarily clearing the invasive species, Acacia reficiens, from the rangelands. Nearly immediately, Grevy’s zebra moved into the cleared site, making the most of the open spaces to graze.” Caption and image courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust.

“In Sukuroi zone, Westgate Conservancy, community members have been voluntarily clearing the invasive species, Acacia reficiens, from the rangelands. Nearly immediately, Grevy’s zebra moved into the cleared site, making the most of the open spaces to graze.” Caption and image courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust.

“Being a great source of the extra minerals that they need, termite mounds are valued commodities for Grevy's zebras.” Photo courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust

“Being a great source of the extra minerals that they need, termite mounds are valued commodities for Grevy's zebras.” Photo courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust


“Our supplementary feeding program was a welcome relief for this herd of Grevy's zebras that was captured by one of GZT's camera traps feasting on the hay that was left for them at Tirgamo corridor in Laisamis.” Photo and caption courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust

“Our supplementary feeding program was a welcome relief for this herd of Grevy's zebras that was captured by one of GZT's camera traps feasting on the hay that was left for them at Tirgamo corridor in Laisamis.” Photo and caption courtesy of Grevy’s Zebra Trust

"My Kenyan Friend" Prints by Artist Kathryn Adele Schumacher

Elephant Artist Print by Kathryn Adele Schumacher

After traveling to Kenya on one of our Adventure Trips, and meeting this beautiful elephant, artist Kathryn Adele Schumacher created this stunning portrait in pastels to commemorate her time there.

We saw tons of elephants— but that particular one struck me as I photographed him. He was so docile and approached us in the jeep like we were old friends. I loved his eyes.

Singer opened my eyes to the beauty of Africa and it’s enchanting nature. I first went with her back in 2011 and then I went with her again in 2013. I’ve seen five different countries and cannot wait to go back.
— Kathryn Adele Schumacher

Kathryn Adele Schumacher has generously donated 10 prints of her award-winning elephant portrait to WorldWomenWork, and we have them available in our shop. They have professionally cut mats and are ready to frame. All proceeds from the sale of these prints will go directly to fund our projects, like Save the Elephants, which Kathryn Adele Schumacher got to visit in Kenya during her trip there.

Kathryn Adele Schumacher is a collage artist and painter based in Maine and Florida. Visit her website for more info about her work kathrynschumacherartist.com.

Elephant+Print+by+Artist+Kathryn+Adele+Schumacher

Elephant Rescue: Bringing Yai Boon Home to Elephant Nature Park

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

At our fundraising events with Lek Chailert in April, we raised $100,000 to support Lek’s efforts to rescue abused elephants. Last month, blind elephant Mee Boon was rescued. Today, I am overjoyed to learn that as a direct result of our fundraising efforts, Yai Boon, a 70 year old elephant, has also been rescued and is now recovering at Elephant Nature Park. Lek Chailert and Save Elephant Foundation documented the rescue on their instagram and facebook pages, and the words and images documenting the rescue below are theirs. Thank you so much for your support, we could not have done this without you.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

We are with an overworked old skinny girl. Her name is Yai Boon. She is about 70 years old . We cannot move her yet from her previous place due to the long Buddhist holiday in Thailand and the officials do not work. We await permission for transport and other required paper work .

Yai Boon worked at the same place as our old girl, Yai Bua. They stayed chained in the same place, working together for 4 years. Yai Bua was rescued on February 6th, 2016. At that time Yai Boon was still healthy and the owner would not let her go. They continued to use her for riding until two weeks ago when she collapsed. We sent the vet to check. Her condition was very malnourished and dehydrated. Our vet is now treating her to ensure that she is strong enough to transport to her new home. Soon Yai Boon will be free.
— Lek Chailert, Save Elephant Foundation
Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

After two days of veterinary care, IV fluids and B vitamins, as well as better food , Yao Boon is ready to go on her journey. Our team decorated the truck to help her walk curious and less intimidated onto her final transport. She had a few second thoughts and then finally walked onto the truck. Yai Boon is on her way home now. On behalf of Yai Boon and her future friends in the Park, we would like to thanks to Allene Lapides, a generous resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, who helped us to rescue Yai Boon. She no longer has to work, and now she can enjoy the freedom life that she deserves. Thanks to Singleton Rankin of World Woman Work together with members of Santa Fe community who always support our project. You have helped to change Yai Boon’s life forever.
— Lek Chailert, Save Elephant Foundation
Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Please pray for Yai Boon. Long Hours on the road for our old girl, she get exhausted, heavy rain during journey, our team have to stop often to let Yai Boon to get a short nap. About 3-4 hours to go. Be strong old lady. You will be home soon.
— Lek Chailert, Save Elephant Foundation
Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.

Yai Boon is home. What is not much of a journey for one, can be a great hardship for another. It was a tiring trip for Yai Boon. I was actually concerned for her ability to travel the whole way once we were in motion. She walked so strongly on Terra Firma, but the truck motion was a challenge for her. She is very undernourished. Her health is fragile because of it. Our vet and team monitored her the whole time, especially Darrick who never left her side, comforting her from beginning to end. Yai Boon is weak in body, but strong in mind. She carries on her struggle for freedom. Every one needs help at that.

Thank you to all friends who sent your journeying mercies to Yai Boon. Thank you so much to Allene Lapides and Singleton Rankin who have given the opportunity for Yai Boon to rest, and taste both joy and freedom.
— Lek Chailert, Save Elephant Foundation

New Artisan Made Goods in the WorldWomenWork Shop

Our online shop is live! We hope you love these pieces as much as we do.

The WorldWomenWork shop carries a unique selection of artisan made goods from around the world. We carry a range of items including jewelry, home goods, and clothing. Each piece is carefully selected by Singer Rankin, president of WorldWomenWork, for its unique quality and craftmanship. Singer travels throughout Africa and Asia, buying beautiful things from local women artisans who are working to develop income alternatives for their families and their communities. 100% of the the profits from every sale goes to fund conservation, education, and skills building projects for women in some of the world’s most environmentally threatened countries.

Large Orange Moroccan Cactus Silk Pillow Cover

Large Orange Moroccan Cactus Silk Pillow Cover

By purchasing a product from our store you become part of a chain reaction. 100% of the profits from your purchase is given back to help fund women working for economic independence, a better community and on the front lines of conservation of critically endangered species and environments. Thank you for your support.

The Elephant Queen Movie in Sicily

The Elephant Queen
photo courtesy of Victoria Stone

photo courtesy of Victoria Stone

I recently traveled to Sicily to meet up with Save the Elephants founder Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton and to attend the screening of the new documentary The Elephant Queen at the Taormina Film Festival. The film festival takes place on the Italian coast in an ancient Greek amphitheater.

The Elephant Queen was just released this year, and has been shown at a number of film festivals. It will be available later on Apple’s new streaming service. The new documentary is directed by Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble of Deeble and Stone, and narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave). It tells the story of an elephant called Athena, queen of her herd, as she leads her herd on a dangerous journey in search of a new watering hole, as theirs is drying up. It is powerful and beautiful. You can get a preview by watching the trailer below.

Mark Deeble also has some great writing on his blog. He tells the story of finding an elephant tusk and realizing that he knew the elephant it had belonged to here: https://markdeeble.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/the-story-of-a-tusk-kg-voi-river-30514/

He also writes about the importance of time and place in recording audio for wildlife films. Have a read and listen here: https://markdeeble.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/the-elephant-movie-the-sound-of-it/