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Polish Foundation Awards Saengduen Chailert

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Known as Thailand’s Elephant Queen, Sangduen ‘Lek’ Chailert developed a deep love for endangered Asian elephants as a child when her grandfather adopted a baby elephant named Tongkum, or ‘Golden One’.


A Poland-based foundation has given an award to a Thai activist who founded a nursery for disabled or injured elephants in Chiang Mai, the Thai embassy in Warsaw said yesterday.

In its citation for granting the Good Deed Award to Saengduen Chailert, Fundacji Zacny Uczynek said the Elephant Nature Park in Mae Taeng district had nurtured sick and wounded elephants while relying on those in good health to serve local tourism in an ecological and conservationist manner.

No elephants are used to carry visitors like most tourist businesses at the 200-rai park, where 30 tuskers, including babies, are cared for. Saengduen plans to set up a similar park in Surin’s Tha Toom district.

Saengduen has won many accolades including an Earth Award by Time in 2006, after being hailed a Hero of Asia by the magazine a year earlier. In 2001, the Ford Foundation named her a Hero of the Planet. Her Elephant Nature Park has also been filmed by the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.

Born in 1962 in Chiang Mai, Saengduen graduated from the Liberal Arts Faculty at Chiang Mai University before beginning a career in tourism. She later learnt about cruelty suffered by elephants at human hands and dedicated herself to helping those wounded or sick, and setting up the Nature Park.

Fundacji Zacny Uczynek was founded in 2005 to encourage Good Samaritans while promoting other values in addition to education, good governance, democracy, unity and human rights.

Two other recipients of the Good Deed Award this year are Professor Shevah Weiss, an Israeli political scientist, and Adam Wajrak, a journalist with Gazeta Wyborcza, who became an environmentalist.

Weiss, a Holocaust survivor who, migrated to Palestine in 1947, became a professor at the University of Haifa. In 2000 he was made president of the Yad Vashem Council. From 2001 to 2003, he served as the Israeli ambassador to Poland.

Elephant Camp

An elephant ‘drive’ at sunrise. A dip in the river. Treks through bamboo groves and rice paddy. A rare glimpse at life in a traditional mahout’s village. The Elephant Camp at Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa is designed along the lines of the traditional mahout’s villages found in the hills of Northern Thailand in the days when logging employed the majority of Thailand’s elephants.

The Royal Thai Government, with Royal support, set up the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC) to act as a central body for the conservation of elephants, both domestic and wild and the communities that depend on them for their livelihood. Anantara Golden Triangle is proud to host the Northern extension of the Centre’s activities.

A true highlight of the Anantara Experience at Anantara Golden Triangle, our Elephant Camp and its resident cast of jumbo beauties offers our guests a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with these gentle giants. Some of the activities on offer include:

Elephant Driving

A skilled mahout can guide his elephant through its working day with around 70 soft commands, light touches behind the ear and years of understanding between the elephant and his master. But did you know that anyone can drive an elephant? A short half-hour lesson will teach you the basic commands and actions, give you the thrill of riding on the neck of this magnificent beast and having it respond to your commands.

Elephant Trekking

A trek through our forest will include many habitat types from thick bamboo to riverine flood plain and an ideal chance to see the birds and small mammals that inhabit the area.

Elephant Bathing

During the hot weather, elephants love nothing more than to take to the water. Bathing is fun to watch and even more fun to take part in! Take a pair of sandals and some short trousers down to the Ruak River or the bathing pool, help the mahout and really get to know our elephants.

Forest Living Skills

Ask the mahouts to share their knowledge of edible herbs and jungle medicines for human and elephant. And learn the best places to search for the insects that spice up the diet of the mahout!

To learn more about the conservation efforts of The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, please visit:

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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