Elephant Nature Park: An Moral Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand


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. In case you are taken with working with elephants, in a really relaxed, pure & moral atmosphere it is a nice tour for you.

Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Elephant Nature Park – photograph from elephantnaturepark.org

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 lovely pure settings of the Mae Taeng Valley, which enjoys a scenic river working by 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 (that means “small” in Thai) grew up in an area village not too distant from the park, and it has been by the countless onerous work of Adam & Lek plus the continued assist of her household that the park has been capable of proceed to broaden and change into profitable.

An moral elephant sanctuary in Thailand

The “objectives” of the Elephant Nature Park are quite simple but thought scary: 

  • To supply a sanctuary to an endangered species – Asian Elephant numbers in Thailand have decreased dramatically during the last century from over 100,000 all the way down to lower than 2,000 animals left right this moment. 
  • To assist restore the ecological steadiness by rain forest restoration – the park is finishing up an aggressive programme of tree planting, with the intention to replant 25 acres of bushes a 12 months for five years to assist re-introduce the rain forest & with it promote the crops & animals that depend on it. 
  • To protect the cultural integrity of the local 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 schooling – for guests, people, research teams, faculties and events, with the important thing focus being on the plight of the endangered native species offered in an entertaining but significant approach.
Ethical elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Household elephants within the forest – depositphotos.com

The elephants at The Elephant Nature Park

The elephants that reside within the sanctuary of the Elephant Nature Park are primarily from non-public house owners having been acquired by negotiated charges. A number of 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 as a result of each mechanisation & a lot stricter controls on the administration of Thailand’s forests, others had been so badly handled that they grew to become weak & sick, due to this fact ineffective to their trekking camp house owners.

The park is now dwelling to over 30 elephants of all ages from only one 12 months previous proper as much as “grand-daddy” at over 70 years previous! The Elephant has an analogous lifespan to people, and type households of comparable composition and period. A number of 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 driving right here

Thailand as a rustic is FULL of elephant “experiences” accessible to vacationers, you may 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 enable ANY of those merciless exploitations.

It’s dwelling 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 provide 2-7 day stays, & even “volunteer” stays of 14-30 days, there’s something appropriate for everybody.

After being collected from their Inns or Lodgings in Chiang Mai, the primary port of name for the guests is to purchase fruit on the Native Day by 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 12 months 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 gained’t eat bananas, and one other gained’t contact the cucumbers till the remainder 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 sluggish eaters.

However be warned – you gained’t get out of this train with out plenty of elephant drool and “snot” in your fingers!

After the elephants have had their lunch the tour teams may have theirs, the meals is definitely superb, 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 no doubt their favorite instances of day, and definitely by the point its bathtub time they’re often utterly coated in a combination of mud, dust and flies. Everybody heads all the way 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 time and again. At instances 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 out there, she at all times seems to greet each the vacationers & to say good day 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.

Bathing elephants in Thailand
Bathing elephants in Thailand – depositphotos.com

Find out about 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, considered one of them walks like an invalid it is because her legs received damaged in varied logging accidents. One other one is completely blind as a result of the mahout (handler) stabbed her eyes out with arrows in an effort to get “obedience” from her.

Yet 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 unique story, however the widespread 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 mild coaching that’s used to maintain the elephants joyful & 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” facet, 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 nicely over 50 different “pets” starting from canine, cats, water buffalo & cows, to not point out the frogs, and hundreds of thousands 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 data please go to the Elephant Nature Park Website.

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