The elephants in LAOS also need us, our voice, our love and our support.

Sponsorships and/or donations help them to get out of their hard everyday life as a working elephant and to finally be allowed to live a life as an elephant. Yes, working elephants in the timber industry is still legal here in Laos and most of the elephants work in this area. – NO elephant does this voluntarily 😥 our sponsored elephants tell you what they went through 😭 about their trauma, e.g. also from forced breeding.
The Elephant Sanctuary Laos was founded in 2019 by Lek Chailert, who has been running the
Save Elephant Foundation
for the past 25 years. This new sanctuary is nestled in a beautiful valley on a river that flows into the Mekong, in the Sayabouri province of Laos.

Our sponsorship elephants from the SEF Laos

The first two elephants rescued were Phoon Me and Boon Hom, two very close elephant friends who were forced to work in a trekking camp until 2018. Thong Khoon came to the
Elephant Sanctuary Laos


Phoon Me & Boon Hom

Sabai Dii ❤️ dear elephant friends,

Like so many of my friends, I, PHOON ME had to work in the timber industry already at the age of 9, i.e. hauling trees. Afterwards I was supposed to work in an elephant camp in Vang Vien as a riding elephant. On the one hand I was a bit lucky, because not many tourists were interested in elephant riding. On the other hand, bad luck, because I was brought back after 8 months and had to haul logs there for another 2 to 3 years. After that I was assigned to a resort in Luang Prabang again. There I had to carry tourists around 3-4 times a day. And every night I had really bad low back pain. Have you taken a look at the seat frame? That heavy metal frame – do you know what that weighs? At least 50kg and then add 3-5 people. I dreaded every working day :-((
And one evening I just wanted to allow myself a little freedom and escaped to the neighbor’s property. But it also smelled so deliciously of food and indeed there was plenty to eat there. It was so delicious – it was so nice, I was so happy. BUT THEN the neighbor had noticed me and he also came running totally pissed off and angry. AND he had the hook with him. AND THEN there was a real thrashing, again and again on the same place on my knee/leg. I screamed and cried, the pain was unbearable and still he drilled the hook into the wound again. I almost went insane from the pain. …….. Finally he stopped and brought me back. I was in such pain, but no doctor came and there was no treatment. However, I could no longer work either and was sent back to my home village.
Of course, there was no doctor there either and it took 3 years for the wound to finally heal. Despite the years of suffering and pain, I was ultimately lucky in my misfortune. I was rescued by dear Lek and came to the Elephant Sanctuary in Laos. And there I was finally allowed to just be an elephant and there are people who love us ANIMALS.

Who would like to be my godfather and spoil me a little?

Also with me BOON HOM there is little else to tell than with my many girlfriends here in Laos. I was also trained hard to work in the timber industry. It really wasn’t my dream of life as an elephant. But also my will was broken and then you just function to get as few blows as possible. Besides pulling logs, I also had to work as a riding elephant at a trekking camp near Luang Prapang.
I also had 2 children born. I was not allowed to choose my father, I was raped twice. And that’s not all – they took both children away from me when they were babies. They were sold to zoos in Japan and in Korea. My heart still bleeds today. This is the lot of many mothers and we wonder how can people do this to us?
I was helped by the so dear Phoon Me. When I met her at camp, my life became more bearable. A wonderful, quite intimate friendship began. Then Phoon Me was rescued and before Lek had the funds together for me, I was sold at a higher price to a camp very close to Elephant Sanctuary Laos. I was totally shocked – Phoon Me too. We wanted to stay TOGETHER!!!
BUT fate helped us. How? You will not believe it? In the end, a bad snake bite helped. I became seriously ill, the camp had not yet paid me and the new owner was reluctant to pay. He was afraid of losing his money. Lek heard about it and she immediately sent her vet. They feared I might die and wanted me gone. But Lek did not believe that and immediately saved me.
On July 30, 2019, I came to Sanctuary, where my dear friend Phoon Me was already waiting for me, and a whole new life in freedom and with lots of love started now for me too.



Sabai Dii ❤️ dear elephant friends,

it is not easy for me to talk about everything, but I had promised and maybe . . . . . 🙏
I, THONG KOON , had already had 2 forced inseminations, actually violations of the breeding program, behind me when I was barely 24 years old. — I had my 1st baby when I was a very young elephant – it was a boy and despite everything I was so happy and full of happiness as a mother. But very soon they took my boy away from me. I knew what was in store for him, my little one had to go to the so-called Phajaan – to the so-called training. My pain is infinite, I feel – like every mother, that my boy is doing very, very badly. I can still hear his desperate screams and cries. I know that training camp is hell. After that, my boy is sold to a Japanese man and flown to Japan. I can hardly express my pain.

THONG KOON starts making strange noises. It is her soul that is crying – she is crying for her stolen baby. Deep depressions envelop the desperate mother. 3 years later she is pregnant again, but this time she could neither push nor give birth. Whether there were complications or whether THONG KOON was too scared to hand her baby over to a cruel world of captivity or to save her little one from future suffering, only she knows.
In such a difficult situation there was no help, love, comfort for the poor mother who was suffering so much, neither from other elephants nor from humans. Alone, tied under a tree in the jungle by her owner, she is left to her fate. After about 2 weeks – it’s unbelievable what THONG KOON must have gone through, the baby slipped out on its own… DEAD. The 2nd big scar on her soul. Her bottom was very swollen after the stillbirth, but there is no veterinary care in these remote regions of Laos either. This means the animals must continue their hard work in the timber industry whether they are injured or sick or not. Her uterus was very inflamed and she suffered from daily introitus pain.
In 2019 THONG KOON was rescued and brought to the Sanctuary. You a broken soul – scared and nervous and very suspicious. They can hardly believe that another happy life is about to begin for them too. She joined the small flock of PHOON ME and BOON HOM . She felt safe and happy there. And she learned step by step that there are also honest people with a heart full of love and understanding – also for her. She too opens her heart and learns that there are people she can trust – people who love her.
When – 12/2019 – KHAMMONE, SUK DEE and KHAM SUAN – arrived at the Sanctuary, THONG KOON’s soul found a little more healing again. The other noises and smells of the new arrivals made her very curious. She soon left her flock to look and greeted the new ones with joy. She felt so comfortable that she spent the whole afternoon with them and of course the adorable SUK DEE conquered her mother’s heart. KHAMMONE and KHAM SUAN felt the sincere feelings towards the little one and accepted her as a nanny. These delicate bonds of love, the task of caring for a baby, giving care and love, receiving love from the little one, are balm for her soul and contribute to her healing. A loving affection also develops between THONG KOON and KHAM SUAN . Nobody knows what KHAM SUAN had to go through, except maybe THONG KOON . Elephants talk a lot and are extremely empathetic, helping and comforting one another.
Unfortunately this luck should not last – the owner of KHAMMONE, KHAM SUAN and SUK DEE takes the 3 back . 🙏❤️🐘🐘❤️ Again THONG KOON loses her little family – she cries and mourns, does not like to eat and nothing. Everyone cares for her touchingly, but this loss cannot heal so quickly. — (The photos are still from happy times)

Would you like to spoil us a little with an EXTRA fruit buffet? Or a truck full of melons or bananas?

Baby elephant ❤️SUK DEE ❤️ must return --- future unknown KHAMMONE --- must participate in the breeding program again KHAM SUAN --- Future unknown

Sabai Dii ❤️ you dear elephant friends

😭the owner of the three of us KHAM SUAN, my mommy and me came and picked us up again. I am very afraid and do not know where it will go and what will happen to me.😥😭😥

Suk Dee - happy and free

June 13, 2022 – fateful day
SUK DEE and her family were picked up

Kham Mone with Suk Dee and Kham Suan