Shine On You Cuddly Diamond – Elephant Family Sanctuary. Go here!

baby-ele-walking

Baby elephant walk.

I’ve just had the privilege of playing with elephants at Elephant Family Sanctuary, in the Maewang District, about an hour and a half south of Chiang Mai. It’s run by my Thai adopted brother Chaiw, who rang me on Saturday afternoon and said he had booked me in for the next morning to go on a half-day excursion and I would be picked up earlier in the a.m. than I am generally comfortable with. So I hauled myself out of bed, foregoing my crucial morning coffee, (potentially fatal to those around me) and got myself ready for this momentous occasion. The EFS silver van duly picked me up at 7.15am and we did the rounds, via back roads and lanes, to pick up the other clientele that were in on this particular trip, Theresa and Tom from California and a young lady from Israel who I think was named Carly. We were a small group today, which I’ve found is always a good thing, as you get to ask your guide lots of questions. And I am indeed rather nosy, although I prefer the label “Curious” or “Enquiring”. There was also a driver, who didn’t speak English, and our guide was a lovely young lady called Hnong, friendly and full of smiles, with quite reasonable English.
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Elephant Tourism – Fun for the Family. Now Ask the Elephants if it’s Fun…

It’s not very often I write serious stuff on here, but every now and again I feel driven to do so, and I hope you readers will feel the same and spread this message around. The article below is about the Surin Roundup – an event that happens in the Surin province of Thailand, to commemorate both the importance of the Thai elephant and the local peoples’ important relationship with them. Involving 200 elephants or more, it’s large, loud, spectacular, and HELL for the elephants. Have a look at the pictures in the article, and in the links below it – the huge, sharp hooks used on the elephants’ sensitive skin, the barbed wire, the wounds marked out by a purple substance..

If you are thinking of going to Thailand, or elsewhere, and are wanting an elephant experience, please do some research and educate yourself before you do so. There are many situations involving elephants that also involve great unhappiness for them. Being made to walk on hard surfaces, being chained separately so they cannot touch each other, being hit and gouged with sharp instruments, being made to work very long hours in the hot sun, babies being made to beg rather than being at their mother’s side and suckling from her – it may be a happy and fun experience for you, but sadly it’s quite the opposite for the elephants.

One of the elephants at the Surin roundup.

One of the elephants at the Surin roundup.

A close-up of his feet. This is what they look like after he's been made to walk on hard surfaces a lot.

A close-up of his feet. This is what they look like after he’s been made to walk on hard surfaces a lot.

Healthy elephant feet. This is what his feet Should look like. Imagine his pain...

Healthy elephant feet. This is what his feet Should look like. Imagine his pain…

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