I recently had the great pleasure of visiting and spending the night at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I recommend any one going to Thailand visit this park. Do not go to any other park where they force elephants, tigers, etc to do unnatural things for your entertainment. Just come to this park and interact with happy rescued elephants. Information about the park and all of their wonderful animal rescue projects are at the link above.
By the end of my visit I had gotten very used to feeding elephants. It’s really very easy, just hold the fruit and the elephant grabs it with their trunk and throws it in their mouth. If you drop the fruit, just leave it, they’ll pick them up off the ground too. Fun Fact: Elephants eat 10% of their body weight every day… and they weigh a lot!
Mother and Child. 🙂
At the main house, some of the elephants come right up to the platform where you can feed them fruit over the rail.
Elephants love to get wet and then get dirty again to stay cool. Here the mother and baby Navan are getting sprayed and they’re very happy about it. Navan loves the water!
Here is an action shot of me splashing the elephants in the river for bath time. Every day the park does bath time where all the visitors go out in the river and bucket shower the elephants. Rescue elephants don’t know how to roll in the water themselves, so we have to splash them. There is one elephant raised at the park named Hope, he’s a 12 year old male and he has a bit of an attitude because he’s a teenager… so when it’s his bath time, everyone gets out of the way and he runs into the water and rolls around.
After they’re clean, they get dirty again to protect themselves from the sun. Shortly after taking the picture I got sprayed with mud and a drop landed on my lense. But I expected just as much.
My river front hut where I stayed with my friend. It had 2 twin size beds with mosquito nets and we even let some of the stray cats come sleep with us.
The park also hosts the second largest dog shelter in Thailand. A lot of dogs are rescued from the floods when they were abandoned. Volunteers can also help take care of the dogs as well as the elephants.
Here I am feeding this elephant bananas. They love bananas, pumpkins, watermelon, and pineapple.
Mae Perm is the first elephant rescued by the park. She’s very old and would not leave me alone till she had my last banana. She kept following me and huffing and puffing her trunk at me, so I gave in. Who can resist such a cute face?
I’m not going to go into the evil things the elephants are put through in Asia, because I want this post to be happy and positive. But as the old saying goes, An elephant never forgets. And this is true… these are emotional, intelligent, and gentle animals that deserve our compassion. Please consider visiting this park if you’re ever in the area. You can bring children of all ages and it’s an experience that no one will ever forget!