Want to know what the elephant sanctuary is like? Take a look for yourself!
No riding, no Bull Hooks… just love!
Here at Camp Thailand we are big believers in ecotourism. One of the biggest draws to our programme here at Camp Thailand is the opportunity to work alongside Thailand’s majestic elephants. We love sharing photos and videos that our campers take while they’re out here, but we feel like you’re not hearing the whole story.
In Thailand, elephants are considered to be domesticated animals and they are often used for labour or to make money in tourist riding camps. These incredible creatures that we work with all came from somewhere, they all have a story to be told and so do the people that work tirelessly all year round to rescue and rehabilitate them. This is their story.
We’ve all seen photos of our friends travelling, smiles from ear to ear, sat on the back of an elephant riding through the jungle. Or an adorable clip of a baby elephant doing tricks for a large crowd? Painting? Playing football? These things might look innocent on the surface. Without knowing what really happens, these acts are innocently done and on the surface do seem both fun and entertaining, but there’s a dark side to this type of treatment.
Almost all elephants in Thailand will have experienced some form of work within the tourist or logging trades, something which can be a pretty horrific experience for these gentle giants. Before any elephant is set to work it goes through a process known as ‘phajaan’ or ‘the crush’. This means to break a baby elephant from its spirit and it’s the traditional torture of young elephants, used to force their will to submit to humans. This process is a very brutal. The elephants are confined, tied down, beaten, starved, poked and tortured until its spirit breaks.
Here at Camp Thailand we are dedicated to helping these incredible animals and re-educating unsuspecting tourists about elephant welfare. This is why we work with some of the best people in elephant conservation in Thailand.
One particular organisation that we are very proud to say that we work with is the Save Elephant Foundation’s ‘Elephant Nature Park’ in the Chiang Mai province. Elephant Nature Park was established in the 1990s and has worked relentlessly since then to rescue and rehabilitate elephants and many other animals. Providing a safe and secure sanctuary, Elephant Nature Park helps to restore a better quality of life for elephants that may have otherwise ended up barely surviving. The park was founded by an incredible lady named Sangduen ‘Lek’ Chailert. During her time at the park, Khun Lek has rescued around 200 elephants and has even earned herself the title of Asian Hero of the Year 2005, as nominated by Times Magazine!
Elephant Nature Park are devoted to their animals and helping to educate the tourists that visit them. With 250 acres of land to roam, the elephants really do get to go back to being just animals and live their lives in peace. Here they don’t have to work or perform, the most difficult part of their day now is deciding between a mud bath or wandering around the fields! They really do live the good life at Elephant Nature Park.
As you can see, we really value the wellbeing and life quality of the elephants that we work with out here at Camp Thailand. By working with Lek, her projects and the Country Roads Elephant Freedom Project, our aim is to spread awareness about ‘the truth behind the smile’. We hope to educate you on these issues, so you can go home and spread the word so we can inspire change. Together, we can make a difference.
No Riding. No Bull hooks. JUST LOVE.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
Much love as always,
The Camp Thailand Team x