We found out about the Elephant Sanctuary from Dee-Dee the Australian lady we rented our Airbnb place from in Chiang Mai. In the information she provided on her rental (which we ditched after spending only the 1st night, the subject for another blog post), she asked people to choose wisely when visiting elephants. Some places give rides, some have trained the elephants to paint and do other silly things. These places she informed us over-worked & mistreated the animals all to make the tourist dollars.
But she told us there were a few retirement camps for injured or mistreated elephants, so that’s what we sought out. It was good fun. The place we visited had 6 elephants, all Asian elephants as opposed to African elephants.
Five females and one 1000-kilo male. The youngest they had was a baby of 6 months. The baby was born there and will remain throughout it’s 80-90 year life because he would be shunned in the wild by other elephants outside of the park setting.
Here the elephants which were brought in as injured or sick are nursed back to health and honestly live a pretty sweet life from what we saw.
One such critter had been used in construction work (in place of more costly machinery) moving or crushing rocks and ended up with a broken leg. Lucky for her she was rescued.
There is a Mahoot for every elephant or mother-baby group and they live there in the camp and take care of the same elephant all the time.
The elephants eat all day long -and they eat a lot. The camp, something like 40 acres, grows all the food needed for the elephants. We fed them peeled and cut up pieces of sugar cane, lots of bananas and bamboo leaves. Their diet is so fibrous they actually make paper out of the poop! All in all it was a great day and we learned a lot about Asian elephants -up close & personal.
~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)