You know that feeling when you wake in the morning and it is finally THE day? It is finally the day you have been looking forward to for months and their have been count downs and day dreams about this day and how exciting it will be. And it is finally no more sleeps. This was the feeling of excitement when we woke up only a week ago in Chiang Mai. It was finally the day we were going to the Elephant Nature Park
There is so much I could write about how great this place is. It is a couple of hours out of Chiang Mai and it is a huge National park where the rescued Elephants can roam around freely, swimming in the river and gorging themselves on fruit fed to them by volunteers from all over the world. It is indeed a very special place.
(I love their feet. )
The park rescues Elephants that have been mistreated or abused by buying from the owners and relocating them to the park. See this ( above) Elephant on the left- she has a broken hip and she drags her back right leg- you can see how it is dragging in the picture she was rescued after she was injured when she was working clearing the forest. The stories- which you can read on the website will break your heart but their is a silver lining for these lovely beasts.
they are loved deeply by their carers and and their sponsors from all over the world, the herd always welcomes new members and I think there are 37 Elephants living at the park now.
they line up for feeding more than a few times a day - look at their saggy bums:
After they have been fed they like to go for a swim- it was our job as volunteers to throw water on them with buckets- we all got very wet but it was so fun. Someone threw several hundred bucket loads of water on those elephants and was very determined to make sure that elephant was nice and wet and cooled down.
It was amazing that by the end of the day we were actually very comfortable with the Elephants and having such huge beasts around us. Busy who threw herself straight into it as soon as we arrived and was a huge hit with the our guide and the elephants carers was the first one to start feeding them and learnt quickly how to put the food in the curve of their trunk so they could literally toss it into their mouths.
This is Lek. She started the park in the early 90's. We watched her being interviewed and I took this photo as we watched in awe as all the Elephants hurried over when they saw her and started hugging her with their trunks - like she was their mumma- which she kind of is- it was quite a sight to see.
And see that gorgeous creature below: She is "our" Elephant! Her name is Sri Nuan and she is blind in one eye and she is enormous and lovely. We sponsored her, you can sponsor an elephant too ( would make a great Christmas present I reckon) your dollar goes a very long way in Thailand and this park relies on donations to keep it going.
This little lady had a lovely time too. In fact it was one of those days I don't think any of us will ever forget.