(19 Feb 2021)
The first Meli resort to open in Thailand has
provided land for a community farm to help feed elephants rescued
Located 200 metres from Meli Koh Samui on the
north-eastern tip of Koh Samui island, the 250 square metre farm
supports 200 banana trees, as well as additional elephant
fodder such as napier and sweet grass.
The farm was created following news that
the ethical elephant sanctuary Samui Elephant Haven was struggling to
feed its herd of 21 elephants in the wake of a dramatic downturn
in tourist numbers to the island due to the global pandemic.
These magnificent animals need to eat 10% of
their body weight in food daily, which is up to 400kg per
elephant, said the resorts general manager, Ernesto Osuna. With
the sanctuary trying to survive on only 5% of the funding
necessary, its herd has been getting only a fraction of its normal
The sanctuary opened in 2018 as a safe harbor for
elephants that had been put to work on tourist treks, as show
animals and in the logging industry. At the haven, they are free
to roam the 10-hectare sanctuary, to play, forage for native
plants and bathe in various pools.
As a result of the global pandemic Samui Elephant
Haven is spending funds previously allocated for land rental to
feed its herd, prompting fears it will be unable to continue
renting the land and be forced to displace the elephants.
To educate guests about the plight of rescued
elephants and encourage them to visit and support the sanctuary,
Meli Koh Samui has unveiled an elephant mascot Coco to provide
information about the Haven and as a host for educational
activities about the elephants at the resort’s kids club ‘Kidsdom’.
The community farm and mascot Coco’s debut are the
latest in a string of initiatives by the resort to help the
hard-hit local community.
The resort’s staff have funded and distributed
packs brimming with essential items such as rice, noodles, cooking
oil, milk, tinned food and more to people in need.
The resort is also home to The Gallery, situated
in the lobby, a not-for-profit social enterprise designed to help
improve the lives of Thai communities. The Gallery sells
accessories such as handbags, wallets, and silks, and home dcor
items such as ceramics and wooden model boats, made by Thai
designers and artists. All profits support further artistic
endeavors as well as help preserve and promote local culture and
areas in need.
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