Saturday, January 19, 2008
I buzzed through Thailand pretty quickly on my way to Cambodia, but while I was here I visited an Elephant hospital and sanctuary for elephants that used to work in the logging industry. Now, logging with elephants is illegal in Thailand, so these working elephants are often abandoned here, where they have a good life doing shows in the morning for tourists. Several elephants in the hospital part had been injured by landmines. They have such huge legs that it seems to smother the landmine and they are able to survive.
The day started out with watching the elephants bathe, and then seeing a demonstration of them pulling logs, painting pictures, rolling over, and placing hats on peoples heads. Next we could feed them bananas, and finally I did a short elephant ride, getting sprayed with water when he stopped to drink and wet himself against the heat. The elephants are very intelligent and full of personality. They also have amazing motor skills using their trunks.
Photo above: The elephants lower themselves so that the handlers can mount and dismount.
This elephant has an IV!
Here is a video of the elephant bathing and nearly drenching me with spray.