Thailand Elephant Sanctuary
Elephants are a big part of Asian culture and everywhere you look while in Thailand there is a tour offering a chance to see these majestic animals. However, there are two different types of attractions you will find in Asia either an option to interact with the elephants or a chance to ride them. I had heard some stories about animal cruelty before, but I was not informed completely in the matter, so upon doing some further research I found out that elephants are only able to be ridden on because they have been tortured to do so by their elephant trainer. In fact, when you see anyone riding elephant whether it be in real life or in a video clip look closely to the person riding on the neck of the elephant or trainer. You will notice the trainer is carrying a stick with a hook in which they rams into the elephant to force the elephant to obey their command. I was rather disgusted with this practice when I found out how many people unknowingly contribute to this animal cruelty around the world.
Luckily after reviewing a few elephant nature camps, I stumbled upon the Elephant Nature Park. This park is the first of its kind and currently houses over 80 rescue elephants that have either been rescued from other riding camps or from local villagers who can no longer take care of them.
I was elated to see an organization like this that was taking the time to make people aware of the cruelty that was going on and actively saving elephants in the process. Because of this organization, others have begun to follow suit and now “no ridding” camps are more common than before; however, they still have a long way to go.
It was an amazing experience to see these beautiful creatures up close. We were able to feed the elephants and give them baths in the river. We even got a chance to make some of their food and get our hands dirty making a yummy recipe for the older elephants who cannot the eat the hard foods and need it mashed up for them. It was a unique experience, something I would encourage anyone to give a try if they get a chance to visit Thailand and volunteer with elephants.
The park itself is beautiful as well and it reminds me of the movie Jurassic Park with its beautiful and lush landscape. Along with the elephants there is also a house with over 500 dogs and 200 cats which are all rescues themselves. I was also able to help out with the dog sanctuary by being able to take some dogs for walk, as you could imagine the volunteers have their hands full with so many dogs living in the compound. I booked the one day volunteering with an overnight stay; however, there are longer options for those who choose to stay there for longer periods or you can even just spend the day.
Feel Free to check out website for more information https://www.elephantnaturepark.org/
Travel Info: The Elephant Nature Park price can be well over $100.00 (for overnight stay) however please take in consideration it cost as much as $80 a day just to feed one elephant .