The idea of Mai was born after a visit to an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We realised how bad the elephants were treated before they arrived at the shelter and really wanted to help them out. The elephants clearly had marks of physical harm and mental issues as consequence of their mistreatment before they came to the asylum.
The original idea was to donate to the sanctuary which we visited at the time, it seemed like a place where the elephant could be free and enjoy their life again.
After many heart-to-heart conversations with experts in the field we realised that supporting an elephant sanctuary that buys elephants from their owners is a short-term solution that is slowly disappearing because in many occasions elephants already may no longer be used for commercial purposes.
Furthermore, we realised that most of the sanctuaries which are seen as good shelters with for example no riding policies were still just a tourist attraction meant to satisfy the visitor as you are able to wash and feed the animals which is of course not a natural occurrence. We didn’t want to be a part of this cause and decided to look for what else we can dofor these animals. We soon realised that it would make more sense to bet on protecting the wild elephants. After talking to many different organisations which commit themselves to create a better future for al habitats of our beautiful planet we decided to work together with WWF. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an internationally recognised organization working in the field of the wilderness preservation, and the reduction of human impact on the environment. To be able to do their work WWF depend on donations. As discussed before, Mai decided to show our commitment to nature by supporting WWF with a donation of 10% of our profits.
We want to support every bit of nature but want to focus on specifics. We decided to begin with the elephants because these gentle creatures were the first ones to make us realise how tender the nature around us is. For now, we chose to specifically look after the Asian elephant because at this moment there are plenty campaigns which pledge for support the African elephant. This is of course badly needed because these creatures are being hunted for their ivory tusks. The Asian elephant mostly does not have to deal with this issue because often only some of the males have tusks. The ivory issue overshadows different mistreatments that humans cause to the Asian elephant, such as working labour and loss of habitat. Just to make a comparison: there are 415.000 African and 30.000 Asian wild elephant. This means that less than 6.75% of all the wild elephant belong to the Asian population which makes them extremely rare. The elephants made us realise how rough the reality of interaction between the nature and humans actually is and that we have to step forward admit our mistakes and set them straight. It is impossible to do it all at ones but step-by-step we will get there.