Bruce Haxton, the founder of The Tuk Tuk Club – which specialises in adventures to the heart of Northern Thailand – is planning to cycle more than 2,300 km in 40°C through Northern and North Eastern Thailand to raise enough money to feed a small family of elephants for three months, starting in May.
Elephants spend between 12-18 hours eating around 15-20% of their body weight each day to survive. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand has, in effect, shut its borders meaning Maevang Elephant Home, nestled in the beautiful district of Mae Wang in Northern Thailand, has had no visitors and no income to feed its family eight elephants.
“I have a very long term relationship with them pre-dating The Tuk Tuk Club by five years,” explains Bruce. “They are superb at what they do – I have huge respect for the way they operate, small scale, no fancy marketing, just good honest Northern Thai folk who love their elephants.
“Even though times are unbelievably tough they haven’t once held their hands out asking for help, haven’t complained about anything and have just done their best to crack on. I meet with the guy who runs it every month for food, and not once has he asked for help or anything like that. They haven’t asked me to do this – it’s me trying to pay back their support over the years and to allow them some breathing space in this never ending crisis.
“It costs around £22 a day to feed and look after each elephant. So with eight elephants at the home, they need more £5,000 a month just to make sure they are well fed, safe and cared for.”
Therefore, Bruce has decided it’s time to get off his backside and do something to help.
For 20 days in May, he will cycle more than 2,300 km (from Chiang Mai to Ubon Ratchathani, and back via Surin) to raise enough money to feed the family of elephants and their mahouts (the people who spend all their lives with elephants, looking after them) for three months. This equates to 121 km approx. per day, during the height of Thailand’s summer, factoring in one rest day for saddle sores “and beer”.
“Rather than just ask people to give money I want to do something that means we work for it (ie challenge myself physically and something that will take real motivation). I feel it’s very important that we don’t forget elephants and the people who look after them during these times and I’m personally determined to help out.”
For more information, and to keep up to date with this incredible challenge, please visit: https://www.thetuktukclub.com/about/help-the-elephants-of-mae-vang/
To see Bruce’s Just Giving page, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/maevangelephants?utm_term=nR6RQMBnR