A GIANT step forward for elephants

12/12/2019

You’re helping Following Giants – formerly known as Eco-tourism Recreation Koh Lanta – become truly elephant-friendly.

Chok is a calm and gentle 29-year-old male who enjoys pineapple leaves and long walks in the forest.

The World Animal Protection team is excited to help the venue transition from a riding camp to an elephant-friendly, observation-only model. Elephants will be free to walk through the rainforest as if they were wild, foraging on native plants and socialising with each other whenever they choose.

This latest transition is part of the ongoing “Elephants. Not entertainers” campaign you’ve helped make possible.

Jahn and Chok, the two elephants who currently live at Following Giants, will be joined by three more friends.

Letting elephants lead the way

Jahn pictured left

Meet shy lady elephant “Jahn”

Jahn is a 32-year-old female elephant who’s been at the camp for 10 years.

She was sometimes forced to mate against her will and is now traumatised and nervous around all male elephants apart from Chok. However, she’s very social with females (as pictured above).

Jahn was used as a riding elephant. Every day a heavy saddle was attached to her back and she carried tourists through the rainforest. When she wasn’t giving rides, she was chained in the same spot without shade, waiting for the next visitors.

Jahn is also nervous around people and doesn’t like anyone standing behind her. But, under the new transition model, tourists will be prevented from approaching her.

Jahn can be very playful and loves to splash about in the deep fishpond. We hope that, once she’s allowed more freedom, she’ll be able to express this side of her personality more.

Meet former Bollywood leading man “Chok”

Chok is a calm and gentle 29-year-old male who enjoys pineapple leaves and long walks in the forest.

Image Credit: Nicolas Axelrod

Choc was originally exploited in the harsh logging industry. When he arrived at the camp more than seven years ago, he was used in a “swim with elephants” programme in the nearby ocean. The venue then switched to a riding camp and Chok was forced to carry tourists on his back day in, day out.

Recently, the World Animal Protection team witnessed Chok taking his first forest walk without tourists on his back.

This freedom was initially overwhelming for him, as he had never been able to choose where he went or how quickly. But soon he began to enjoy himself, stopping to graze on shrubs and scratching his back against one of the larger trees. Over time, Chok will rediscover his natural instincts, become more confident and finally be able to live happily.

With your support, elephants like Chok and Jahn will be free to simply be elephants.

(Header Image Credit: Nicolas Axelrod)