The Elephant Nature Park is an hour drive from Thailand’s Chiang Mai – and a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life. As soon as you arrive a feeling of calm washes over you.
I was lucky enough to spend time at the sanctuary as a volunteer earlier this year, and the experience was incredible.
Every one of the elephants is strong and powerful but, with the exception of the babies born at the park, has been maltreated in some way by mankind. As a result, you would forgive them for being wary and untrusting, but these are gentle giants. Despite the force in their trunks I was able to hand feed them bananas and melons and never once felt in danger.
While I fell in love with all of the elephants, two really stood out for me. Mae Perm is the first elephant ever rescued by Lek Chailert the sanctuary’s founder. A few years ago the team rescued an old blind elephant called Jokia and as soon as she arrived at the Elephant Nature Park Mae Perm took her under her wing acting as a tour guide. The pair are now inseparable, where ever Jokia goes, Mae Perm is there, acting as her eyes.
This show of compassion and friendship between these two wild animals is amazing. But what’s even more incredible to me is how humans can hurt them.
That is why I am determined to do all I can to raise awareness of the wonderful work being done at the Elephant Nature Park. Not only do they rescue elephants in danger but they are also trying to change people’s attitudes and are campaigning for animal cruelty laws to be introduced in Thailand.
Today is World Elephant Day and I hope everyone reading this will be inspired to find out more about the charity and maybe even sponsor an elephant because I have seen first hand how your support can help with the care of these truly magnificent mammals.
To find out more about Elephant Nature Park please visit their website http://www.elephantnaturepark.org