Chongkham is dominated by the Khampti tribal community whose association with the elephants is legendary and dates back to hundreds of years. The Khamptis are famous for their traditional skill of capturing wild Elephants and imparting training to tame the wild pachyderm. The tamed Elephants were earlier used to extract timber from the forest and also for ploughing in the farm fields, even for plucking tealeaves!
Chongkham was once considered as Asia’s richest village due to the revenue generated by timber harvesting and other timber-related activities. Unfortunately, the Khamptis and their beautiful elephants are almost out of job now due to the ban on timber felling. While accepting the fact that the ban on timber felling is necessary to conserve our forests and bio-diversity, the importance of conservation and respectful rehabilitation of the tamed elephants and their masters cannot be undermined.
The Great Indian Elephant Safari is a humble attempt to rehabilitate such orphan elephants that have served splendidly over a long period of time and deserve every support for a respectful livelihood.