One of the most iconic cultural experiences tourists in Thailand love to partake in is visiting the massive elephants. You can take photos with them, ride on them, and otherwise have a great time with these powerful pachyderms.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus has severely curtailed the tourist industry. And that means elephants have begun starving.
There are about 4000 elephants in captivity in Thailand, and each one can consume up to 440lbs of of food a day.
Lek Chailert, founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, told the BBC: "If there is no support forthcoming to keep them safe, these elephants, some of whom are pregnant, will either starve to death or may be put on to the streets to beg."
"It's a very bleak outlook unless some financial help is received immediately," Lek Chailert adds.
With many of the animal caretakers under desperate circumstances with their livelihood, many are trying to sell their animals off to zoos or to the Thailand logging industry, which has used elephants as manual labor even though it was often illegal.
Here are some places that are well-reviewed for ethical considerations.
One of the biggest voices in conservation, the WFFT rescues animals that were mistreated or kept illegally as pets.
Boon Lott is a rescue sanctuary that also operates as a sort of volunteer-vacation location. Guests can visit with elephants and help care for them.
One of the most highly recommended charities based around elephant rescue, this group brings guests up close and personal with these majestic creatures.
BEES is a boon to older elephants who have been rescued from logging and entertainment captivity. This elephant retirement community is located about 2 miles down from Chiang Mai, in beautiful natural environments that allow their rescue elephants to flourish.