Groundbreaking Elephant Rescue: Unchained Elephants’ Historic Effort

elephant conservation nfts

Unchained Elephants Revolutionizes Elephant Conservation Funding

Unchained Elephants, a dedicated group led by Daniel Villota, has made history by rescuing an elderly bull elephant named Kanoon, who was suffering in captivity next to a garbage dump in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They achieved this through the world’s first-ever tokenized elephant rescue, using Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and crowdfunding to raise the necessary funds.

Initial NFT Initiative and Mission Shift

Initially, Unchained Elephants aimed to support elephants that became “unemployed” due to COVID-19 travel restrictions by raising funds through NFTs. They managed to provide essential care and food for eight elephants in various camps across Thailand. However, as elephant tourism resumed, they shifted their focus to rescuing and providing for elephants in dire conditions, and educating travelers about the elephant tourism industry.

The Plight of Kanoon: A One-Eyed Bull Elephant

Kanoon, a 55-year-old male elephant, was discovered by Thai animal activist Chayanan Assawadhammanond. He was chained, malnourished, and had only one functioning eye. The Unchained Elephants team, alongside Vicki Kiely, decided to embark on a rescue mission to save Kanoon and bring attention to the broader issue of abandoned male elephants in Thailand.

World’s First Tokenized Elephant Rescue

The team raised $19,118 USD to rescue Kanoon and relocate him to an ethical elephant sanctuary. In total, they raised $19,495 USD, with 60% from crowdfunding and 40% from NFTs on the XRPL.

Unchained Elephants’ First Elephant Rescue Mission

The rescue mission started on June 24th and was accomplished on September 5th. They faced challenges in finding a sanctuary willing to take in a bull elephant due to the unique requirements of caring for a male elephant. Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES), located in Sukhothai, Thailand, stepped in and offered Kanoon a forever home.

The Journey to Kanoon’s New Home

The rescue journey was a challenging 13-hour endeavor amidst a storm. However, the Unchained Elephants and BLES teams persevered, successfully relocating Kanoon to his new home.

Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES)

BLES is an ethical elephant sanctuary founded by Katherine Connor. It provides rescued elephants a safe and joyful environment where they can roam freely, socialize, and forage for food. Travelers are invited to visit BLES to experience elephant-friendly tourism and immerse themselves in Thai culture.

Unchained Elephants Project & Mission

Unchained Elephants uses NFTs to support elephant welfare, raising funds and awareness by offering digital membership, travel benefits, and elephant-friendly practices to donors. They also provide a certificate of adoption in the form of an NFT to supporters, fostering a lasting bond with the rescued elephants.

Future Plans

Unchained Elephants will continue raising funds for Kanoon’s care at BLES, promoting ethical elephant tourism, and scouting for captive elephants in need of rescue. To follow Kanoon’s journey, stay updated on future rescue missions, and learn more about their ongoing efforts, visit and connect with them on social media or subscribe to their YouTube channel.