In 1986, the Asian Elephant was placed on the endangered species list.

Today, 30,000 Asian Elephants remain on Earth.

By 2020, some experts have predicted the wild Asian Elephant will be extinct.


The key to saving this species from extinction… Education.

Our story

Ashley Bell and a team of elephant rescuers, led by world-renowned elephant advocate Lek Chailert, embark on a daring 48-hour mission across Thailand to rescue 5 captive Asian elephants from a trekking camp and set them free. 

The Trigger

In January 2013, Ashley Bell traveled to Cambodia to witness the release of two logging elephants at the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary. 

These elephants were used like tractors to pull teak and rubber trees through the jungle. Their bodies were maps of abscesses and scars, having suffered from severe dehydration, physical abuse and malnourishment. 

Cambodia is ground zero for elephants: 75% of the Cambodia’s forest is destroyed and less than 200 elephants remain in the wild. The sanctuary itself is prey to illegal logging and poaching. 

Ashley left Cambodia with one question: What can I do? 

The Facts

World population

500,000 African elephants

30,000 Asian elephants

Ashley educates herself and the audience on the plight of Asian elephants. Why are they captured? What they’re used for? Why is no one paying attention to the disappearance of the Asian elephant?

The Expert

Ashley interviews Lek Chailert and asks, “What is the solution to elephants in crisis?”

Lek Chailert was honored as Asian Hero of the Year by Time Magazine in 2005 and received in the White House by then U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton in 2010. Her efforts have been recognized worldwide including being featured in National Geographic, The Smithsonian Society, on Animal Planet, the BBC, and CNN. Education and exposure 


The One thing every captive elephant around the world has in common is The Phajaan: The Crush Box.

Traditionally baby elephants are captured in the wild, (their mother often killed) and confined in a small wooden box where they are beaten for a week continuously with bullhooks. Those that survive have their spirits crushed. They now fear man enough to obey their every command.

“They hardly recognize their own mother. They do not know they are elephant.” 

  • Lek Chailert

The Rescue 

We’ll go on an actual elephant rescue. They are sudden, action packed, and oftentimes life threatening due to the rough terrain, existing war zones, and mandatory curfews. Elephants can be rescued from dangerous illegal logging facilities, elephant trekking camps, zoos and circuses. Currently several elephants are being monitored for rescue, but due to the politics of the region, the few number of elephants remaining, and the sensitive nature of the situation, we’ve been asked not to release details. 

Solution – ECO Tourism not EGO tourism

It’s common knowledge that once animal abuse is exposed, human nature will rally to help. Love & Bananas exposes a dark and cruel practice that has up to now, been carefully hidden. This documentary shatters the myth that elephants love to entertain for humans. We put the power in the viewer’s hand to break the chain of abuse. 

1. Spread the message. Tweet, share, post, take action. Once you are aware – you can pass along your knowledge. 

2. One thing counts. Walk a mile for an elephant, fundraise, demonstrate, volunteer, rescue an elephant – it all adds up. 

3. It’s what you don’t do. Don’t’ ride an elephant. Don’t attend an elephant circus. Don’t buy an “elephant painting.” If you don’t show, they won’t have a show. 

Their future is in our hands.  Let an elephant be an elephant. 

-View The Love & Bananas Team