Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Elephant Nature Park!

Elephant Nature Park is such an amazing place that I thought I would share with everyone the day I had here. The park rescues elephants from cruelty (i.e. logging, abusive elephant trekking companies, and street begging, etc etc). I was aware when I came out to Thailand that some companies who offer elephant rides are abusive and cruel, but I didn't realise how widely this abuse occurred. Traditional training methods involve putting elephants into a small pen, too small for them to move, and torturing them by beating them, using sharp instruments, and leaving them without food and water. This puts a bit of a dark side on all the holiday photos you constantly see on facebook of people attending elephant shows, and taking elephant rides. At Elephant Nature Park you are not allowed to ride the elephants, as they personally do not agree with this. But, I really don't think this takes away from the day at all! You get to see these animals in a happy, peaceful, and natural environment. So much better than every other elephant trekking park we drove past, where all the elephants are chained up!

Anyways, enough ranting over these are some photos from the amazing day we had here :)

We started the day with meeting and feeding these lovely animals. As well as meeting the Mahout who looks after the elephant, and literally spends all day with these elephants roaming the park. They are there to make sure that some elephant families stay away from the other families that they don't get on with, feed, and generally look after their well-being. A huge dedication from the Mahouts' and a sign of how much they love these animals. Most parks stops the fighting my chaining the elephants up.

You can see in the above photo that the elephant (Medo) is injured. This was originally caused from logging, where she broke one of the ankles, making her useless to the logging company. After failing to sell her to elephant camps, she was put into forced breeding. They chained her up, and she was forced to mate with a strong bull elephant. This was so bad she dislocated her back, and spent the rest of her days before Lek found her carrying small logs up the mountain. Such a heart breaking story when you meet these elephants, and see how much they love each other, and feel everything. 

After the meet and greet it was bath time. This was the best part of the day, and i'm sure the elephants enjoyed it too! 

We ended the day with a video about how the elephants are treated in Thailand, and the amazing work of Lek (the founder of the park). She really is an inspiring woman who has dedicated so much of her life to helping save these beautiful animals. To read more about elephant nature park and the work of Lek visit this website

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