One of my favorite days OF ALL TIME was when we spent the day at Elephant Nature Park. There are many tour options from which to choose, and we decided on Elephant Trails as it sounded perfect for what we were expecting (and also b/c it was available the day we were planning to go). Holy moly did it deliver!!! We were picked up early in the morning by ENP and upon arrival, were provided our gear, which consisted of long sleeve shirt, pants and hat – we were all super cute. Just look at those high waters!
We first washed and separated bananas to feed the elephants, and all the while the anticipation to see them was growing. Finally! The eles arrive – 2 adults and 2 babies!! The babies were Mina and Sky; unfortunately I didn’t capture the names of the adults. Sad face.
After feeding them, we walked with them around the grounds, stopping so they could play and eat more. THEN it was time for their mud bath. We were all invited to help them apply their “sunscreen” so we jumped into the mud and applied liberally. I am a glamper so this was well out of my norm, but 100% INCREDIBLE!
After that, we walked for a while longer until we reached a large pool of water, where we splashed them with buckets upon buckets of it…and drenched ourselves in the process.
Our guide was Tomi, and he shared SO MUCH elephant knowledge with us. Some facts I captured:
- Elephants sleep for only about 4 hours a day
- Mahouts, or elephant care-takers, stay with their eles 12hours a day; eles ‘choose’ their mahout
- Elephants can live 60-80 years
- Babies absolutely LOVE to play
- ENP spends $250k/year on food alone
- ENP has 76 elephants in their care
- Mahouts at ENP use positive reinforcement (food) to reward elephants when they listen
- ENP is working to educate non-ethical parks in hopes of removing horrid ‘spirit-breaking’ practices altogether
- The Thai government doesn’t do much in terms of banning trekking/forced breeding due to the profits being made
It was so beautiful to witness their interactions amongst each other. Eles are not here for our entertainment. They are highly intelligent, gorgeous creatures that deserve a life free to roam with their families. The best way for these horrific practices to end is to not pay for them. Do your research. Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary that I’d recommend to everyone.