When people decide to go travel to Thailand, they want to experience something special, maybe to come in contact with Thai most authentic and mighty animal – the Asian elephant. And that is possible at every step; Elephant jungle trekking, shows where elephants are dancing, playing piano and painting pictures on canvas.
Everything you want at affordable price. These interactions leave a strong impression on visitors, which they will never forget. People get excited about how smart and incredibly capable these majestic animals are. But are they really experiencing the authentic Thai elephant? Or behind all this, lies completely different story.
Before I’ve decided to visit Thailand I learned about the real situation behind the tourism industry with elephants. The reality is not pleasant. With visiting performances and riding elephants the tourists are supporting immense torture. It is logical that if we would go into the wilderness, we would never saw an elephant with a brush in his trunk painting trees and cheerfully preform typical Thai dances through the jungle. These are wild animals, they were not born in order to entertain the audience. Training or should I say torturing, that the elephant starts dancing, painting and perform a variety of tricks, is long and soaked with their blood. Elephant is a proud animal, and before it’s mahout – so called their caretaker is capable of controlling him, he brakes his spirit and gets him in a position where the elephant can no longer resist so he resign to fate. So did you really experience the authentic Thai elephant if you were in contact with an elephant whose eyes were empty and his big heart was broken?
Unfortunately, it is not only the heart that is wounded. Elephants are seriously exploited for so long that they are no longer able to serve their mahout. When they are ready to get rid of them, there are luckily good people who appear at that point. People like Lek Chailert, a woman who devoted her life to elephants and founded the Elephant nature Park Chiang Mai, which I visited myself. Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai is a place in the province of Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, where Lek takes in the elephants which she manage to save against abuse. I had the opportunity to get in touch with the elephants who were blinded – because it makes it easier to train them, they were full of scars, broken hips, crushed hearts and sad stories. Elephant nature Park Chiang Mai is a kind of apology to this majestic creatures for all the pain people had caused them. I decided that I will give my money for a good purpose, namely for the maintenance of the shelter, so I volunteered.
I had the opportunity to spend the night in a wooden house in the middle of the jungle and listen to the conversation of rescued animals that were freely running around. In Elephant nature Park Chiang Mai you will not rode elephants or see them speak and perform tricks. However, you will learn a lot about their history, current situation and about respect for these incredible creatures. You will be able to feed them with juicy watermelons and ripe bananas, observe their habits, listen to their stories, hug them, kiss them, wash them in a river and restore them that little piece of hope for humanity that they might have left in their big hearts. I’ve decided to write this article because it was a very special experience in my life and I want to make others see, how does the elephant look in the natural environment and not as a hard-working touristic product, who from day to day carries tourists on their back.
Be the change you wish to see in the world. By your actions, you can choose whether you support the torture and exploitation of animals or you are going to help them. Every day you have in hand the election vote, the only difference is that this one is in your wallet and at the end of the day it’s actually worth something. So If you are planning to visit Thailand go to Elephant nature Park Chiang Mai and experience something amazingly wonderful and leave with the blessed feeling in your heart that you’ve actually done something good.
One of the wonderful things that you experience in Elephant nature park Chiang Mai, are definitely good-hearted people with whom to share your memorable experience. Volunteers who consciously choose not to support further torture, are full of positive energy and love for these creatures. Spend the day in the company of open-minded people who want to change the world for the better is invaluable.