Caer Urfa

Coffee supporting Thai elephant rescue

Today I thought I would post an article about the way that coffee businesses can help the environments they are located within. Its also an uplifting and positive piece of news.We all know about poachers killing African elephants for their ivory but less talked about is the abuse of elephants through forcing them into tourist industry, illegal logging operations, or begging on the streets. Elephants in these situations often suffer bodily and emotional injuries. It is in rectifying these wrongs and providing a safe haven for elephants in need that prompted a new movement in Thailand that uses coffee production to finance elephant rescue.Lek Chailert, an internationally recognized humanitarian has established the Elephant Nature Park (ENP) aiming to provide these gentle giants with an environment which provides safety while supplying for all their needs. So far she has rescued over 200 of these at-risk pachyderms, but when finding the organisation was in need of more funds a unique solution was found.In 2003, Lek’s elephant sanctuary was established upon land leased from the Thai government. Using profits from a newly formed coffee importing company, Serengeti Trading Co., the charity was able to buy the land in the hills of the Chiang Mai province. It was through these auspicious beginnings, rooted in a connection with coffee, that ENP formed its relationship with coffee and that the ENP Coffee Co. was created. Funds are used for medical equipment and expenses to tend to sick elephants, to cover the costs associated with rescuing elephants, and land acquisition. Land acquisition and preservation, is closely connected with elephants. Often employed in the illegal deforestation market, elephants are frequently forced into destroying their very homelands by transporting the downed trees that constitute their environment. Neighbouring the ENP in the Chiang Mai province is a Karen Hill tribe, a group of people originally from Myanmar. Grown and harvested on these elevated and mountainous lands of the Karen Hill tribe are shade grown Arabica varietals. It is by importing and selling these forest grown coffees that the ENP Coffee Co can support the Elephant Nature Park. But that is not the end of the story, these relationships benefit the Karen Hill tribe too, by providing them a wholesome livelihood, with fair and just working conditions, allowing them to preserve their traditional cultural values and practices

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