A young elephant at ENP – please be warned there is a couple of sad stories in here.
I spent my day at ENP having my heart torn into pieces as our guide explained the elephant’s stories. Elephants that had been abused, elephants with broken hips, elephants rescued from the tourism industry, elephants that had had their feet blown off by landmines.
The worst story was about one elephant who had been pregnant and forced to work in the logging industry. She gave birth on the job and when she couldn’t save her baby, she lay down and refused to work. The mahout started beating her and gouged one of her eyes out, leaving her blind.
Pretty shitty right?
Luckily, she was rescued by Lek, the founder of ENP. Lek and the mahouts devote themselves to their pachyderm friends and do everything in their power to help heal the elephants. As sad as it was to hear the elephant’s stories, it was amazing to see just how far they had come in terms of trust and health.
Elephants are the national animal of Thailand and are supposedly highly regarded, but some aren’t treated aswell as they should be.
On our way up to ENP we saw some elephants from another park. They had people in baskets on their backs and the mahouts were armed with bullhooks. Nice.
If you want to interact with elephants on your Thailand trip then please do some serious research.
Avoid places that offer riding, especially in baskets as elephants backs aren’t made for it. To make elephants do this, they are taken away from their Mum’s as babies and they have their spirits broken. I won’t go in to too much detail but if you are interested then youtube it. Trust me, you won’t be in any rush to hop on an elephant’s back then.
Go somewhere where you interact with the elephants naturally. Where they can walk off if they lose interest. Where the mahouts show respect, love and care to the elephants. Where they don’t offer rides.
Seeing elephants was pretty amazing and to see them wandering around in a natural environment without people strapped to their backs was even better.
We paid £47 each to spend the day at ENP and that included pick up and a veggie lunch buffet. There are loads of different excursions available at ENP that include bathing the elephants, trekking with them or even volunteering with them. There are also a bazillion dogs and cats on site that have been rescued and just roam around waiting for some cuddles.
Check out the Elephant Nature Park site here.