Lek Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park, with a few of her kids.

A couple of years ago, I visited Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand, where I met and interviewed its founder, Lek Chailert. [One day soon you may even see that interview!] The following year, I was solo hiking in Khao Yai National Park, where I witnessed my very first free-roaming elephant. Not an elephant in a zoo or circus. Not at a sanctuary. An elephant living free of human chains or boundaries. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.

Why did the elephant cross the road? Because she could!

As these things happen, later that same day I met a Thai family at the 200’ Heo Narok Waterfall. We’ve stayed in touch since. Travel has a way of making these sorts of connections. When it comes to education, experience, memories, exotic food, and meeting people, there is no second to travel. Nothing even comes close.

The author at Heo Narok Waterfall.

Unfortunately, elephants living in the wild today are the exception, not the rule. Most elephants in Thailand and other countries that are not abused in the “entertainment” industry (think circuses and photo-op rides) reside in sanctuaries. Elephant Nature Park is one of the best. Sadly, ENP, which relies heavily on eco-tourism dollars to fund its many programs, has been hard hit financially by the Coronavirus pandemic. No travel, no tourists. I was thinking of a way to help them… and then my Khao Yai Waterfall friends contacted me with an idea.

You probably won’t look as cute, but hey, you never know ‘til you try!

Soon we’ll all be wearing face masks, to protect ourselves as well as others. Why not an “Elephant Mask” fundraiser for ENP, with masks made in Thailand? And why not cute masks — certain to be conversation starters — with animals, fruits, and vegetables on them?

So here we are. These masks are perfect for children or adults who wish to act like them. If you would like to get a pair (or two) of these adorable face and germ protectors, find me here on Facebook. For a minimum $20 donation (all net funds will go to the Save Elephant Foundation, parent org of ENP) you will receive two masks. You can even pick your favorite fruit, veggie, or animal if you chose. I’ll keep tabs on the most popular designs (hopefully not peaches and eggplants) and update you with the results.


Masks are Dual Layer:

The outside is nano polyester with a fiber particle size small enough to protect droplets from getting in.

The inside is muslin cotton (made in the USA). Designs (dyes) are sulfur-free and treated with a zinc antibacterial finish to reduce dampness.

The face masks are 100% washable and should be washed before using.

Masks fit both adults and children. Just about every animal, veggie, or fruit is available … even durian!

Rather than buy something you don’t really need only to make Jeff Bezos even richer, you can invest in your own health, keep your loved ones safer, and help a worthy cause. And probably start a new fashion trend. ENP and I will be forever grateful, and you can bet the elephants will never forget.

Children will love wearing these!

Founder, VegNews Magazine