At the Mekong Elephant Park, we always strive to keep an environment-friendly habitat and sustainable living conditions both for our elephants and mahouts. It means accommodations built from natural materials, no single-use plastics, and so on. However, it also meant that in the past, we could not have electricity at the park, and as a result our mahouts had limited use of electrical devices, and all our food and fresh drinks have to be stored somewhere else.
That brings us to our exciting news: We now have solar panels and electricity for the first time for all the mahouts!
It’s a very important moment for the mahouts and for the Mekong Elephant Park. With the slow disappearance of the logging industry and the ban on unethical elephant tourism, a lot of mahouts no longer saw profitability in training younger generations to become mahouts. The Mekong Elephant Park wants to show that working in a natural environment with elephants, and in preserving sustainable elephant tourism, is just as much rewarding. We believe that with this new installment at the park, we have achieved an opportunity for the development of a new generation of young and promising mahouts with equal life conditions than in their home villages.
The mahouts can now charge their phones, listen to music, and have a fan when the weather is hot. We hope this will help to convince their families to come to live with them full time as well.
The other benefit from these solar panels is that we are now able to sell fresh drinks and fresh juices on site, for the ease of serving our customers.