Elephant owner livestreams her animals for donations

STORY: Location: Surin province, Thailand

This elephant owner livestreams her animals on TikTok and YouTube

It's helping Siriporn Sapmak get by

as Thailand's tourism industry struggles

The 23-year-old can raise about $28 in donations over several hours

Live elephant shows were popular among foreign tourists

But last year tourist arrivals were a mere 1 percent of those in 2019

[Siriporn Sapmak, Elephant owner]

"We are only hoping for the tourists to come back. If they come back, we might not have to do these livestreams anymore. Some days, we cannot sell anything on the livestream, there is no security. If we got to go back to work, we could get a stable income to buy grass for the elephants to eat."

Thailand has about 3,200 to 4,000 captive elephants

The government has sent out 550 tons of grass

since 2020 to help feed them

But elephants eat around 400 pounds of grass a day (source: Wildlife Conservation Society)

Siriporn and her mother said they have yet to receive any government support

[Pensri Sapmak, Elephant owner]

"I have no idea where to go next, I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel. I want to go back to the way things were to provide for the family and maintain the upkeep, but being unemployed like this means we don’t have anything to hold onto apart from selling these fruits. Some days we make some money, some days none, meaning there's going to be less food on the table."