Elephant Camp!!!

Trip Start Nov 05, 2007
1
28
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Trip End Jun 22, 2008


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Flag of Thailand  ,
Thursday, January 31, 2008

We read in the Bangkok Post about an elephant program just about 3 miles or so outside of town called "Elephant Stay," which is a non-profit foundation which directly benefits the welfare of retired elephants. Darcy and I being crazy about elephants (and just crazy in general) signed up for a 3 day-2 night stay. The location is a living, working village in which elephants, mahouts and their families exist together as one. At this time the village has about 90 working, retired and babies elephants in total.
The program involved living with (we did have our own air-conditioned cabin, I said we were crazy not mad), caring for (that means cleaning -up in marketing speak) and learning about elephants. We learned all the basics of being a mahout, riding, feeding, watering and even bathing elephants in the river. As the pictures show, we did the work and paid to do it!  Because of the diversity of activities at the Elephant Kraal and village we were able to experience many unique facets of elephant life. Some of the great pictures of the babies were just done on off time around the village.
Taking care of an elephant is 24/7 job, they eat all the time and therefore what goes in comes out. Controlling an animal that size in a tough job, we had to learn the commands in Thai (the elephant do not understand English). To get them to follow the commands was hard, but after a few days they started to listen (some).
Playing with the babies (400lbs) in the village was great fun and to watch them play together was like a comedy show. The mothers take good care and watch them all the time to make sure nothing happens to them.
 All-in-all it had to rate as one of the most fantastic and unforgettable experiences we have had on this odyssey so far.
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Comments

Belynda on

Hello to my favourite crazy Americans :o) love your blog

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