Hi, my name is Mr Dee. I come from Mae Stop village. I grew up around elephants from a young age as my father was a mahout for our families’ elephants. I have always believed that the elephants are part of our family and it is important to me that people understand this.
Most Elephants in northern Thailand are kept by Karen villagers and the bond between the elephants and their families is sacred and is a bond of trust that has been forged over centuries. Many elephants are used in tourism throughout Thailand and most come from northern Karen villages in Thailand. I run a project to support my village by allowing my elephants to remain in their natural habitat – keeping their mahouts closer to their families and home.
My aim for the project is to educate people how the elephant population is sustained in northern Thailand and help to continue the great work we do through eco-tourism – where we allow the elephants to behave in a natural way rather than performing for tourists. This gives you a far more accurate representation of the way elephants behave and why we love them so much. I am very proud of all we have accomplished so far and my elephants and I can’t wait to meet you.
Mae Satop – Our Home
Our village has been home to elephants for hundreds of years. Passed down through generations, elephants here are family members and each have mahouts (elephant care takers) that spend every day with their elephants and are experts in supporting, looking after and taking care of their every need. With nutritious plants surrounding the area in abundance, Mae Satop provides food, shelter and love for the elephants. The village also has an area of forest land conserved specifically for the elephants to live and thrive in, as well as a waterfall nearby, beautiful views and welcoming and friendly villagers.
Mae Satop is a Karen village with the local language being Pakinyaw. The Karen people migrated here from Myanmar after we were refused settlements in Chiang Mai so settled in the forest – where we learned how to live hand in hand with our elephants. We are very open to talking to you more about our history when you get here! Overall, elephants are at the core of every day here in the village with every family being involved in either owning, mahouting for (caring) or supporting the elephants financially with local businesses and crop farming.