I Love the Elephant

I Love the Elephant

It’s true, I love elephants and Thailand is a country with a rich elephant culture. I had been wanting to spend some time with the elephants, but had heard some mixed stories on how elephants were treated, and wanted to pick an organization that would not be cruel to the animals. My sister Wendy was in town and definitely wanted to see elephants, so I asked and looked around and found Elephant Nature Park.

I called to find out more about them. I asked, “Do people ride the elephants there?” and the reply was, “No show no ride, we are conservation.” Wendy and I repeated this phrase for much of her trip. Elephant Nature Park was the elephant organization for us.

When I went to their office to pay for the tickets, inside were about 10 dogs that had been rescued from the Bangkok floods, a few cats, and a chicken. I commented on the dogs, and the woman told me, “At the park have many animal – dog, cat, pig, cow, many.” Being lovers of all animals, this delighted us further still.

Wendy, initially timidly feeding the elephant

We learned the Thailand only has about 3000 elephants left and there were 33 at this park. All but 3 of them were female. Many were older elephants – some 60 and 70 years old! Many of the elephants here have been rescued from poor treatment. This one was blind in one eye.

These ladies looked happy to get bananas.

one of the younger ones

Wendy and a new friend

Wendy practicing to be an elephant dentist

After feeding them and seeing them in the field, we got to bathe them.

Getting ready to bathe the elephants.

Songkran for elephants

We loved this, and so did the elephants. This poor old lady had a broken hip. Wendy found it hard to leave her.

After bathing, the elephants wanted to play in the mud. The 1/2 -tailed black dog sure does remind me of someone…

The young one and me

Elephant Nature Park wants elephants to live the lives of elephants, not circus performers.

While feeding the elephants in the afternoon…

We witnessed an event that quickly reminded me that elephants are wild animals. An elephant lay down and got caught under the fence. She called for help and the other elephants rushed to help her. So much so that the knocked down a fence like the one you see above.

Protective elephants helping a herd member

The remains of the fence the elephants knocked down

It felt special to see the elephants act really wild.

 

I’m sure I’ll visit here and again and volunteer for a while.

In Thai elephants are called chang. Chan chob chang maak!

These elephants are so wise and cute at the same time, what’s not to love?

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