A baby banana-hoover learns how to do it.
September 2013 and I was at it again. I traveled back to Thailand and instead of wallowing at beach resorts and quaffing drinks with little umbrellas in them, returned to Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary North of Chiang Mai, and volunteered my sweat and gave myself some blisters to remember. This time I went for two weeks instead of one, and also hauled my partner along so he could see what I had been rabbiting on about for the last year or so. Here’s a photo essay on being an ENP volunteer.
Firstly, this is where we slept. We were surrounded by Australians, so we dug in, marked our territory and guarded it fiercely. It was a great spot – it had a huge veranda outside, complete with guard dogs and several cats, and our room had a bed with mosquito nets, an open-walled ensuite, a tiny frog and a gecko. Unfortunately, it was situated up some stairs. Fourteen steep stairs to be exact. I know this. I counted them at the end of each long, hot day. Fooouuurrrteeennn of them…
NZ territory – right smack in the middle of Australian territory.
Hi all. Hope your day is going really well. 🙂
Here’s a really nice short film on Elephant Nature Park and the other projects Lek Chailert has put into place in South East Asia. Take a look – it’s very inspiring.
A Journey with 4 Legs (Save Elephant Foundation)
One of the beautiful eles at Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
While I was at Elephant Nature Park, Jodi and I happened across Faa Mai and a few of her friends indulging in some ditch-diving. Faa Mai was enjoying herself so much she got in and out about three times. Little Dok Mai was very happy to copy what her big herd-sister was doing. Here’s some of the footage I got…
So, you want to build an elephant? Firstly, may I suggest that you first purchase a forest. Elephants eat around 150 kg of food per day, so your garden won’t last very long no matter how big it is. That being said, they only digest around 40 percent of what they eat, so your compost heap is going to become mighty healthy. Thus the prudent purchasing of a sack factory so you can bag up and sell the associated by-products and therefore regain some of your investment is another idea worthy of looking at. Not to mention the size your potatoes will grow to.
The instructions herein are for the assembly of an Asian Elephant DIY Kit (TM). To build an African elephant, you will need to purchase the African Elephant DIY Kit (TM) and follow the instructions peculiar to that model. Continue reading
A fantastic write-up, with photos, about Elephant Nature Park and one person’s experience there.
How to Mend and Elephant
One more sleep then we’re off to Thailand. I’ve found I’ve been somewhat anxious over the last week or two. This is what I’ve been doing:
- Packed my suitcase, repacked it 15 times minimum – and that was only in my sleep.
- Checked my passport and ticket. Checked again in case they have disappeared since last time I looked.
- Checked that Malaysian Airlines still exists and hasn’t gone bust and sold off all their airplanes while I wasn’t looking.
- Checked that I have the day right for our flights and don’t turn up at the airport to hear ‘I’m sorry Madam, your plane left yesterday’.
- Sent copies of my itinerary, travel insurance, passport and other documents to multiple members of my family in case of attacks by rampant snakes or being sat upon by a absent-minded pachyderm.
A Big Thank You to these business in our lil’ town in New Zealand:
Whangamata Veterinary Hospital for their kind donations of supplies for us to take to Elephant Nature Park for their animals.
Sunny’s, Whangamata, for their donations of pencils and T-shirts for us to take to the free school for Cambodian kids that ENP is developing at the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary.
And Whangamata Library for donating books for the kids also.
Big smiles and thanks to all of you – I know this stuff is going to be really appreciated at the other end. 🙂
Mong Dee keeps bananas at the ready while Sao Yai bathes in ecstacy…
Luckily, elephants are vegetarians. One of the Park residents, Pom, giving an ele a treat.
My partner and I are off to North Thailand in three weeks to work with elephants. Specifically the ones at Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, North Thailand. Large, grey proboscis-laden pachyderms banana-hoovers abound there, as well as many rescued dogs, cats, buffalo, cows, chickens and assorted other beasties. They’ve had 2 baby elephants since I was there last year – Navann and Dok Mai. Will I be able to resist hanging around them like a tween at a Bieber concert? Probably not. Will I be able to stop myself from trying to sneak one home in my luggage? Well, that would be a yes, because we only have a 30kg luggage allowance, and I’m pretty sure even a baby banana-hoover weights more than 30kg. Will I be able to avoid snakes, spiders and leech attacks? That remains to be seen. Last time I was in Thailand, it wasn’t out in the jungle I came close to having a snake-related cardiac arrest, it was in a town where I was innocently waiting to cross the road and one fell out of the power lines beside me! Very funny God! Read that story here. Read about the Giant Killer-Leech Attack here.
And so, the preparation begins: Continue reading
Lek Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park – she gets to many places and helps many other beings. An awesome woman!
Produced in 2012, this is a documentary that features Lek Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park, and covers a wide range of the situations and issues of the Asian elephant today.
The reality is that the Asian elephant is becoming extinct. If we don’t all come to the realization that in little or big ways we can help the ones that are left, our grandchildren or their children will have to visit museums to gasp at an animal that until recently walked this earth.
What will they think of us, their recent ancestors, the ones that allowed the unethical treatment of elephants to continue, and allowed the extinction of them to occur? I, for one, don’t want to find out the answer to that question…
View the documentary here
Chang Yim – young male elephant and all around ratbag. Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand.