Jumbo Express is an outreach program which provides emergency medical treatment to elephants working in remote areas and builds ties with rural communities. By providing free medical care to people and elephants, Jumbo Express hopes to gain the trust of local people and use the exchange as an opportunity to discuss human- elephant relationships. Villagers are encouraged to air grievances about human-elephant conflicts and an exchange of information regarding wild and domestic populations take place.
Established in 1995, Jumbo Express has already visited more than 100 hill tribe villages, Thai communities, and refugee camps in the area from the Thailand-Burma border up to the Laos-China border. Aside from community outreach, Jumbo Express aims to raise the standard of living for domestic elephants working without access to proper treatment. Some elephants are isolated by physical geography and some simply by neglect.
One example of the conditions seen by Jumbo Express is the case of a jungle trekking elephant who was carrying loads of tourists on mountainous trails with a glass bottle lodged inside her foot. It appeared her mahout did not have the time or the skills necessary to remove the object. However, Jumbo Express was able to help this elephant by properly and safely removing the bottle, and providing medical supplies and guidance to her mahout for future care.
A typical Jumbo Express will involve one overnight stay in a rural community. Elephant Nature Foundation provides food for everyone during our time there. Volunteers and staff mingle with villagers, provide de-worming medicine to children, give out treats or toys, and address any treatable medical problems. Some Jumbo Express trips focus on elephant medical treatment while others strictly involve research. All Jumbo Express events are documented with a written report summarizing the activities undertaken and recording the information gathered from the field.