A visit to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand
When I started my weekly posts I mentioned that I would also be posting some of my personal work besides wedding and family photography.
As a professional photographer I often leave behind a lot of my own traveling photos and personal photography projects and I think that this is my chance to commit to getting back in touch with all these important memories.
My husband and I made an amazing trip to Thailand in 2017 and I can say that the highlight of that trip was by far spending a whole day in an elephant sanctuary.
When you travel to Thailand and especially to the Chiang Mai province in the north, there are a lot of places that you can choose to go to see the elephants.
After some research we decided that we wanted to encourage this amazing place called Elephant Nature Park. The co-founder is Lek Chailert, also known as the ”elephant whisperer” (I encourage you to search for some videos of her with the elephants. It is so amazing to see their relationship).
Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary and a rescue centre that provides a natural environment for elephants who have lived a life of suffering and abuse from the tourism industry. These beautiful animals get a second chance over there, living freely in nature, playing, eating (a lot), and taking baths.
When you visit this centre, you are a mere spectator to their daily lives and you are there to follow them on their journeys. They are not there to do anything for you. We observe, walk along with them, feed and bathe them. And learn so so much! The first moment you get close it can be scary. But soon enough you realize that they are just like huge dogs. They are gentle and intelligent creatures that do no harm when they are respected.
At the end of the day we were amazed and humbled by the whole experience. We realize how small and insignificant we are compared to the perfection of nature. You leave there so satisfied and encouraged by the incredible work they do taking such good care of the animals and educating people to build a better world for the elephants.
It is important to point out that after many years serving as entertainment for humans these elephants are not capable of reintegrating into the nature and living without human help. And that’s why sanctuaries like this one are so important. The elephants get very attached to their mahout (their keeper) and they develop a beautiful relationship of trust and care at this place.
I won’t go into the details of how much they can be victims of the tourism industry because there’s a lot of this information on the internet. But it is very important to go after this information before visiting any attraction involving elephants.
Here’s a little of our experience in images.
If you would like to learn more about this wonderful place, visit www.elephantnaturepark.org