Wallop P. Luengdhama (Joe)
FOUNDER & CEO
Our CEO, Mr. Wallop, has spent 35 years in the tourism industry, managing some of the most prestigious hotels in Asia, and was formerly the Executive Director of Phuket Deep Sea Port.
With a deep love of elephants since childhood, Mr Wallop has felt a personal connection with elephants his whole life. Aware of the suffering and ill treated to elephants in tourism, his dream has been to help them. When he moved to Phuket, he met with a dedicated team who loved elephants as much as he did, and discussions began to create a safe home to retire hard-working elephants.
“Animals deserve food and shelter as much as humans do, and they should be given the best comfort and care, and that includes the best welfare. Our elephants are our national pride and we need to look after them. We are proud to have created Tree Tops Elephant Reserve to give our elephants a peaceful and natural life, and to give tourists in Phuket an unforgettable experience.”
Mr Wallop believes having a strong understanding of international tourism, coupled with his local Thai experience and his love of elephants, will help to push forward a sustainable and responsible approach for ethical elephant tourism in Phuket that will ultimately help many more elephants.
Louise has lived in Asia for over 20 years and has been working with captive elephants in Thailand and Cambodia for 10 years. Louise's love of elephants began in Sri Lanka at just 7 years old, with her now dedicating her life to saving them.
In 2010, whilst Louise was volunteering at an elephant project in Thailand, she met an elephant named Tong Teh who ultimately changed her life direction. Tong Teh had a broken wrist and could no longer work, and sadly passed away on November 2011. At the time, Louise had lived in Hong Kong for 13 years, but was unaware of the cruelty
inflicted to elephants in Asia. She couldn’t understand why people would want to ride an elephant, watch them perform in shows, play musical instruments or paint pictures, and she could see that tourists were fueling this industry. Believing awareness is key to change, in 2011, Louise launched EARS Asia, a Hong Kong based charity, and partnered with Nat Geo Wild to air Public Service Announcements throughout Asia.
Since then, Louise has successfully spearheaded campaigns, including to retire Sombo, a famous elephant in Cambodia who was giving rides for over 20 years, and an ongoing campaign to better the lives of two Cambodian zoo elephants (Kiri & Seila), who were personally cared for by Louise over 4 years.
Louise has advised and assisted elephant projects throughout Asia, rescued and rehabilitated elephants, and along with her partner, Russell, relocated to Phuket in 2016 to bring the first non-bathing elephant project to Phuket, changing the course of ethical elephant tourism on the island. Louise believes that partnering with and working with elephant camp owners is crucial for elephant tourism. Louise's focus is to transition elephant tourism by giving visitors to Asia the opportunity to choose a compassionate, gentle approach to experiencing elephants, and she looks forward to welcoming you to Tree Tops.
marketing & operations DIRECTOR
Russell has been working with Asian elephants for 5 years in Thailand and Cambodia. He blends a history of international marketing, social media, technology, sales, business process, and photography.
In 2016, he was a founding member of the team bringing the first ethical elephant project to Phuket and is passionate about helping change the course of elephant tourism. He believes that with the right help and guidance, traditional elephant trekking camps can transition to a compassionate, ‘elephant first’ model, whilst still providing a livelihood.
“Tourist’s dictate what the tourism industry provides, and if there is a demand to see elephants perform in shows, give rides or bathe with them in the water, then the industry will provide that. It is important to show tourists from around the world, that all animals in tourism must be treated with respect. This is why we have created Tree Tops Elephant Reserve. We truly believe that putting animal welfare first is the way forward for Phuket’s elephant tourism industry.”