The Elephant Nature Park, positioned within the Mae Taeng Valley 60kms north of Chiang Mai, is an impressive place to go to.
The Park operates as each a sanctuary & a rescue centre for distressed & sick Asian Elephants from throughout Thailand. If you’re serious about working with elephants, in a really relaxed, pure & moral setting this can be a nice tour for you.
A information to visiting Elephant Nature Park
The Elephant Nature Park is only one hour’s drive north of the Thai metropolis of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, and is positioned within the stunning pure settings of the Mae Taeng Valley, which enjoys a scenic river operating via it and is surrounded by the densely forested mountains of the world. The park operates as each a sanctuary & a rescue centre for distressed & sick Asian Elephants from throughout Thailand.
The park, which covers a complete land space of 800 hectares (2,000 acres), was based in 1996 and was the brainchild of Sangduen “Lek” Chailert & her husband Adam. Lek (which means “small” in Thai) grew up in an area village not too far-off from the park, and it has been via the limitless onerous work of Adam & Lek plus the continued assist of her household that the park has been capable of proceed to increase and develop into profitable.
An moral elephant sanctuary in Thailand
The “objectives” of the Elephant Nature Park are quite simple but thought upsetting:
- To supply a sanctuary to an endangered species – Asian Elephant numbers in Thailand have decreased dramatically during the last century from over 100,000 right down to lower than 2,000 animals left at this time.
- To assist restore the ecological steadiness by rain forest restoration – the park is finishing up an aggressive programme of tree planting, with the goal to replant 25 acres of timber a yr for five years to assist re-introduce the rain forest & with it promote the vegetation & animals that depend upon it.
- To protect the cultural integrity of the area people – by creating employment and buying agricultural merchandise domestically the park helps the villagers to maintain their distinct tradition.
- To advertise the park as a method of training – for guests, people, research teams, faculties and events, with the important thing focus being on the plight of the endangered native species introduced in an entertaining but significant approach.
The elephants at The Elephant Nature Park
The elephants that reside within the sanctuary of the Elephant Nature Park are primarily from non-public homeowners having been acquired by negotiated charges. Among the majestic beasts merely “outlived” their usefulness to the Hill Tribe Individuals who used them for logging functions, as the usage of the animals has diminished attributable to each mechanisation & a lot stricter controls on the administration of Thailand’s forests, others had been so badly handled that they turned weak & sick, subsequently ineffective to their trekking camp homeowners.
The park is now residence to over 30 elephants of all ages from only one yr outdated proper as much as “grand-daddy” at over 70 years outdated! The Elephant has an analogous lifespan to people, and kind households of comparable composition and length. Among the “kids” have moms however all have “aunties”. There are elephants that assist out, or have adopted them, even when not genetically associated. There are a few older male elephants together with the king of the clan.
There’s NO elephant using right here
Thailand as a rustic is FULL of elephant “experiences” accessible to vacationers, you possibly can experience them, watch them paint photos, play drums, play soccer, do a trick or two for meals, or lug provides on trekking adventures, however this park is totally different as a result of it doesn’t permit ANY of those merciless exploitations.
It’s residence to elephants which were abused on this method or orphaned or rescued over the previous ten years.
Actions at Elephant Nature Park
Most vacationers go to the Elephant Nature Park as “day-trippers’, the park does additionally supply 2-7 day stays, & even “volunteer” stays of 14-30 days, there’s something appropriate for everybody.
After being collected from their Motels or Lodgings in Chiang Mai, the primary port of name for the guests is to purchase fruit on the Native Every day Market, an elephant can eat as much as 200kg of meals a day, so “wholesale shopping for” is the order of the day.
Arriving on the Elephant Nature Park you meet the opposite vacationers, numbering on common between twenty & forty per day, depending on the Time of the Yr of your go to. Your information for the day begins by introducing you to the varied elephants and their relationships with one another and earlier than lengthy a dozen or so of them are sniffing across the guests with their trunks, anticipating lunch shortly.
Every elephant has its personal laundry basket filled with fruit made to order. One desires its watermelons peeled, one other received’t eat bananas, and one other received’t contact the cucumbers till the remaining has all gone. Feeding doesn’t take lengthy & there are sufficient elephants for each vacationer to have their very own to feed and also you quickly uncover their particular person personalities. There are cheeky elephants, nosy elephants, lonely elephants, grasping elephants, quick eaters and gradual eaters.
However be warned – you received’t get out of this train with out numerous elephant drool and “snot” in your palms!
After the elephants have had their lunch the tour teams can have theirs, the meals is definitely excellent, it’s a buffet so there’s something for everybody, even together with vegetarians which for Thailand is sort of uncommon. As soon as lunch is over it’s time for the subsequent spotlight of the day.
The elephants are bathed twice a day at round 1pm and 4pm, and it’s doubtless their favorite occasions of day, and definitely by the point its bathtub time they’re normally utterly coated in a combination of mud, dust and flies. Everybody heads right down to the river for the washing ritual and it is among the funniest issues you may ever see. These giants of the jungle like nothing higher than splashing round & enjoying within the water, rolling again and again. At occasions they completely disappear below the water solely to re-appear and trumpet water over anybody & everybody inside vary.
With buckets and scrubbing brushes the visiting group units to work cleansing, a lot to the appreciation of the elephants. After the elephants have been bathed, if Lek (the founder) is on the market, she at all times seems to greet each the vacationers & to say hi there to “her household”, as she approaches, the entire elephants come over to greet her and it is vitally clear she has a particular affinity with them.
Study the place the elephants got here from
The teams are additionally knowledgeable in regards to the particular person elephants & the sorry tales behind every of them, certainly one of them walks like an invalid it’s because her legs obtained damaged in numerous logging accidents. One other one is completely blind as a result of the mahout (handler) stabbed her eyes out with arrows to be able to get “obedience” from her.
One more was shot as a result of he threw some vacationers off his again while endeavor a harmful ascent up a slim jungle path, even “The King” of the elephants had been a sufferer of ivory poachers. Each elephant has a distinct story, however the frequent bond shared between all of them is that they’ve suffered abuse by the hands of us people! Because the solar begins to set, the day trippers depart & the “boarders” watch a few of the very light coaching that’s used to maintain the elephants glad & contented.
Dinner is equally as scrumptious as lunch, and now we have probability to fulfill & chat with the volunteers, a few of whom have been on the Elephant Nature Park for weeks some even months!
The lodging is considerably on the “primary” aspect, however the beds are snug, and it’s stunning simply how drained you get throughout your day with the elephants. The nights although are removed from silent, as other than the 31 elephants there are effectively over 50 different “pets” starting from canines, cats, water buffalo & cows, to not point out the frogs, and tens of millions of bugs all through the park.
All spherical it’s nice enjoyable & the expertise of dwelling & working with the elephants is one thing that gives fabulous dwelling reminiscences for a few years to return! For extra info please go to the Elephant Nature Park Website.