Friday, August 18, 2017

Day 22: Chiang Mai, Thailand, Elephant Nature Park

We visited Elephant Nature Park outside of Chiang Mai today. They are an elephant sanctuary that takes in and cares for formally abused elephants and a few that happened to be born at the park. They aren't involved in giving elephant rides or putting on shows unlike many of the places marketed to tourists around here. Currently they have over 70 elephants, majority of which are female. We were able to feed, bathe, and get up close and personal to specific elephants that didn't pose a danger. It was super neat to say the least. 

This elephant had a special place in my heart. She was born into a Karen tribe and her mother was used for labor, such as logging. Because they didn't want to separate her from her mother when she was a baby and nursing they chained them together. Unfortunately her mother fell on her and broke her front left leg. The tribe didn't have the money or resources to transfer her to a veterinary hospital so it healed poorly and she walks with a deformed leg. I was surprised by the number of elephants who had broken hips from falling or had deformed limbs from stepping on a land mine.

One year old and one of only a few males. 

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