ELEPHANT HAVEN - SAI YOK - THAILAND
When my wife said she wanted to make merit for Buddhist Lent day by feeding some elephants, we set out to find the right place to do it. I was hesitant at first because I hate seeing animals abused, however when we arrived at the sanctuary ti was quite clear we were at the right place. Many places promote themselves as sancuaries but then engage in unethical behaviour and exploit the elephants for tourist dollars, but not here...There were no chains, no bull-hooks and no elephant rides or saddles. Winning!
Elephant Haven is supported by Lek Chailert who is a World-renowned elephant conservationist and also the founder of "Save the Elephant Foundation". The transformation of Elephant Haven from a trekking camp into an ethical ‘Saddle Off’ program was covered in the movie ‘Love & Bananas; An Elephant Story’.
So today, we decided to hang out with the elephants for a bit.
As I mentioned earlier my wife wanted to feed the elephants, so we bought 2 enourmous buckets of their favorite bananas and let them have at it. We fed 3 females, one of which was pregnant, she was hungry, real hungry. Basically, elephants don't stop eating, and they love bananas.
After this, we were invited to follow some of the elephants as they made their way to the river for a bath. They made their own way down a dirt track to the banks of the Kwai River and then jumped on in. This was very cool as they swam, and splashed and thoroughly enjoyed their cool swim. If I would have had my swimmers I would have jumped in with them.
Once they had cooled off and were nice and clean, there was only one logical thing to do....Yup, roll in the dirt. Its quite funny watching them roll around in the dirt after they've just gotten clean.
... and then find a tree for a good scratch, and get into all those difficult spots. This was alsoreally quite humorous, as they scratched their necks, backs, legs and bum...and really enjoyed it. I feel sorry for the poor trees that they used.
Time to pose for a couple of pics with their admirers before wandering off to join the rest of the gang. I think you can tell that we enjoyed our time together.
It really was an amazing morning with these gentle giants, and I felt good to be supporting the wonderful work that Elephant Haven is doing with these elephants. If you would like to know more than please take a look at their Facebook page at ELEPHANT HAVEN
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