Heading back to the awesome Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand! I first visited this place 4 years ago and met Pha Mai as a month old baby. This time I’m visiting with Xue Nee and we got to see another 2 babies, and was there for Pha Mai’s Birthday! She was fed a birthday “Cake” of lots of fruit by her sponsor Tom Oliver, who plays Lou Carpenter in Neighbours! I haven’t seen Neighbours in 20 years but I still recognise him, he’s been on the show that long!
But Lek Chailert is the true star here, as she started this park and rescues not just Elephants but dogs, cats and other animals. This place is an amazing refuge. Despite the Asian Elephant having such cultural history in Thailand, being the national animal and revered in Buddhism, they are treated terribly throughout the country. Lek rescues Elephants who have been injured, mistreated, working hard labour, rides etc. She uses only positive reinforcement to gain their trust and respect and you can see how close she is with the Elephants.
In the visit, we got to feed them, both to their trunk and directly into their mouths, wash them in the river, learn about the park and each Elephant etc. And they serve a great Vegetarian buffet lunch! In my first visit I won an ENP bag by naming the new baby Elephant, Pha Mai. This time I won an ENP Calender by naming the new arrival, Dok Mai
DO NOT ever go Elephant riding, give money to street Elephants or visit other so-called rescue parks in Thailand, THIS is the only place that truly cares for the Elephants and other animals at the park.
FYI Only the newborns are kept in Pens, for their own safety and others. They still get let out for visits to the river and when they are a bit older they are allowed into the park with the others