Everyone loves elephants! And visiting Asian elephants is a popular tourist attraction here in Thailand. I wanted to make sure that I chose a place where the owners took very good care of these amazing creatures, and I found it, Elephant Nature Park. Elephant Nature Park started with a woman named Lek who really loves elephants. When she was a young girl, her grandfather, who was a doctor in a small village, was given a young elephant as payment.
Lek took care of that elephant and now takes care of many more. She decided to rescue elephants that had been hurt or orphaned and bought land that she calls “elephant heaven.” Here they live happily ever after. It is a beautiful park and the elephants share it with water buffalo, 400 rescued dogs, and many workers as well as volunteers (my tour guide told me over 200 all together).
When you pay to visit with the elephants, your money goes to feeding and caring for the animals. This is important because elephants eat a lot! And they eat all of the time – I heard over 16 hours a day is spent eating!
The elephants in Thailand were once used for logging and clearing forests for farmland, which is no longer allowed because the forests are disappearing. Without jobs for the elephants and because it costs a lot of money to feed them, tourists can help. Visitors can pay to give them baths and feed them watermelon. Elephants love baths, but they might not like giving rides or living in cities. That’s what makes Elephant Nature Park so important, it makes elephants happy!
There are 2 species, African & Asian
The Asian elephants are endangered, there are under 30,000 in the world
In Thailand, there are 3,000 – 4,000 Asian elephants, one-half live wild in National Parks, the other half are domestic
The skin of an elephant feels rough, it’s one inch thick & they cover themselves in mud to avoid a sunburn
They can live up to 70 years
Bulls are males and cows are females and they weigh a lot, around 3 to 5 tons!