The Great Elephant Escape
By Antoinette van de Water and Liesbeth Sluiter
Street elephants are a common sight in Thailand. Some carry tourists on their backs, but most of them spend their days begging for food or money, urged on by their mahouts, their elephant grooms cum riders. The animals are often in a bad state of health. They often sleep next to garbage dumps and walk along overcrowded highways, undernourished and with wounded feet.
In the green pastures of the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary in northern Thailand, traumatized elephants can recover and begin to enjoy life. Antoinette van de Water worked as a volunteer in this park and lost her heart to the clumsy little elephant Ging-mai, the big slow lady Lilly, and to all the other unchained giants. With the dream of getting every elephant off the street, she started the project "Bring the Elephant Home".
The Great Elephant Escape describes the liberation of two elephants and their journey with Antoinette and her Thai team to the Elephant Nature Park. It turned out to be a breathtaking adventure through the world of flirtatious elephant traders, poor villagers, well-wishing monks, and angry animal-rights advocates - towards Elephant Haven on the far horizon.
About the Authors
Antoinette van de Water is the founder and driving force of "Bring the Elephant Home", an active organization working to create a better future for Thai elephants. After fundraising for a Dutch environmental NGO, in 2002 elephants changed her life completely and she moved to Thailand.
Liesbeth Sluiter is a journalist and photographer with a keen interest in environmental issues. Based in the Netherlands, she has visited Southeast Asia several times. One of her earlier books, The Mekong Currency (Bangkok: Project for Ecological Recovery/TERRA, 1992), describes the effects of dam building on the ecosystem of the Mekong River, its flora, its fauna, and its people.
Chiang Mai 2009
Size 140 x 210 mm.
162 pages, 56 color photographs