First Elephant Rescue in Thailand By Unchained Elephants

First elephant rescue in Thailand - kanoon - unchained elephants x coffee culture thailand

Hey there, it’s Susan, founder of Coffee Culture Thailand and co-founder of Unchained Elephants, and I’m so excited to share the incredible story of Kanoon’s journey to freedom with you. Over the past few weeks, both our team at Coffee Culture Thailand and Unchained Elephants has been on an emotional rollercoaster, filled with hope, fear, and happiness. While this story may not be directly related to coffee, it is deeply intertwined with the incredible community we’ve built together as coffee lovers. Many of you have wholeheartedly supported me on my very first elephant rescue mission. You know who you are, and I am forever greateful to you all! You have no idea. Thank you so much for being part of this extraordinary journey. Together, we’ve shown that our shared passion for coffee extends to a broader commitment to making positive changes in the world. Now, let’s dive into the inspiring tale of Kanoon’s path to freedom!

This is the inspiring story of Kanoon, an amazing elephant who has not only captured our hearts but has also paved the way for a brighter future for elephant conservation in Thailand.

Kanoon’s Captivity: The Abandoned Bull Elephant, Chained by a Garbage Dump with One Blind Eye

Kanoon, an old bull elephant, endured four long, brutal years in captivity with last couple of months living right next to a garbage dump in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Chained up, malnourished, and with just one functioning eye, his life was marked by suffering. But hold onto your seats because Kanoon’s name is now etched in history as the world’s first tokenized elephant!

Together, we’ve shattered traditional constraints and achieved the impossible. We’ve revolutionized elephant conservation funding using Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and crowdfunding. Not only have we unchained Kanoon, but we’ve also set a new standard for elephant welfare in Thailand.

Understand This Before You Continue Reading

But before I jump in and tell the story of how our first elephant rescue went – for Kanoon. I want to shed light on something. I have witnessed countless individuals come to Thailand, often quick to point fingers at locals without fully understanding the complex situation, personally I value the importance of understanding both points of view. As a Thai myself, yes I may not look it but I am half Thai half Finnish, I have the privilege of seeing this issue from multiple perspectives. Elephants are deeply rooted in Thai culture, passed down through generations. It’s crucial to recognize and understand that not all locals are part of the problem; there are both good and bad poeple involved. The key to making a real difference lies in addressing this issue with compassion and empathy, striving for solutions that honor both the welfare of elephants and the cultural heritage they represent.

The Day We Unchained Kanoon, A Bull Elephant

On September 5th, 2023, our first elephant rescue became a reality! The 13-hour journey from Chiang Mai to Sukhothai tested our determination and persinstance. We knew Kanoon, after enduring four years of captivity, might be overwhelmed with emotions. There was a genuine concern that he might react negatively.

Kanoon’s Paperwork & Elephant Visa

The day began early as we transferred Kanoon’s vital records, his “pink book,” to his new caretakers at BLES. Then came a critical step—his “elephant visa,” obtained from the veterinarian’s office. This document was key to the entire rescue operation, and we navigated it without a hitch. By 10 a.m., we were on our way to the fresh market in Mae Tang to grab some fruits for Kanoon’s 6-hour road trip, which ended up being almost 8 hours due to unforeseen circumstances.

Kanoon’s Road Trip To Sukhothai

The most daunting part? Loading Kanoon onto the truck. He’d only experienced this twice in his life, with the last time being more than four years ago! We prepared for the worst but approached it with caution and positivity. Surprisingly, Kanoon’s loading took only 30 minutes, and he remained remarkably calm throughout. It was as if he knew this journey meant freedom.

Facing Nature’s Fury: Kanoon’s Unshaken Resilience Amidst the Storm

The challenges continued as we raced to a quarantine checkpoint two hours away, just making it before closing time. Then, a storm hit, and heavy rain poured down. Given Kanoon’s history of being chained up, we worried about his reaction to the adverse weather. Yet, he remained remarkably calm throughout, even during several stops we made to ensure his comfort.

Unchaining Kanoon: His Forever Home

Arriving at BLES at 8:30 pm in the dark, rain, and mud, we carefully guided Kanoon off the truck. There was a heart-stopping moment when he slipped, but he quickly recovered, displaying the same determination he’d shown during his journey. Kanoon was greeted with a buffet of his favorite foods, a warm welcome from the BLES team and Coffee Culture’s community donations. It was a sign that he was starting a new, better life.

Kanoon’s Great Forest Adventure: The Escape!

Over the next two days, we watched in awe as Kanoon adapted to life at BLES. He socialized with other elephants, experienced his first mud bath, and even chose the path leading to the forest for a brief adventure. His return was thanks to the skill and patience of his old mahout and the BLES team.

You Made This Elephant Rescue A Reality For Kanoon 🙏

Kanoon’s arrival at BLES signifies more than just his freedom; it’s the start of a brighter future for elephant well-being. With your unwavering support, we’ve given him a second chance at life. We’re incredibly grateful to our sponsors, donors, and our community. Your support made this historic rescue possible. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

In the coming weeks and months, Unchained Elephants will continue to raise funds for Kanoon’s care at BLES, promote ethical elephant tourism, and seek out captive elephants in need of rescue.

Thank you for joining us on this incredible journey towards a better future for elephants like Kanoon. Together, we are making a difference! 

Kanoon - the one eye bull elephant Unchained Elephants Rescued
Kanoon - the one eye bull elephant Unchained Elephants Rescued - Coffee Culture Thailand

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