Day 278: Elephant Nature Park
Our experience at Elephant Nature Park was also really nice, but a lot less hands on. Most of the elephants here have a history of abuse, exploitations, and neglect. It was sad to see the many injuries and even blindness caused by man, but it was also encouraging to know that there are people who care enough to help make it right.
At Elephant Nature Park, you will not ride the elephants, but you will learn about them, feed them, and watch a video that teaches you about the abuse they experience in Southeast Asia. It’s very enlightening but extremely sad too.
Here are a few photos we captured during our day at Elephant Nature Park. Below the photos, you will find a few stories of some of the elephants.
Lek: Lek is the founder of Elephant Nature Park, an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Northern Thailand where you can volunteer and visit. Over the years, they have rescued dozens of elephants, who are now recovering and thriving at the Elephant Nature Park. Below are a few of their stories:
Jokia: The name means “Eye in Heaven.” Jokia is blind. She was pregnant and lost her baby as a result of being forced to log. After her loss, she refused to work and her Mahout (the person who cares for the elephant) stabbed her in one eye to force her to comply. She lost sight in her other eye when she got angry and hurt the Mahout. He fired arrows and slingshots at her eye until she lost her sight.
Lily: Lily was overdosed twenty-four hours a day with amphetamines so she could work around the clock. She was brought to Elephant Nature Park collapsed and exhausted. Now she is healthy and thriving.
Many of the elephants in captivity today have gone through the Phajaan or “Crushing.”
Phajaan: The torturing of an elephant until it is so fearful of it’s human captors that it will do anything to avoid being hurt again.” The process is brutal and elephants do not forget it.
The work they are doing at Elephant Nature Park is very special. If you have a chance to visit, please take the time to do so. Even your entrance fee will go toward maintaining the high costs of the park and its care for the elephants. And if you do go, please let me know what you think.