Monday, February 24, 2014
A day with the Elephants
A popular outing in Thailand, and especially in the north, is visiting an elephant camp.
Even if you're not into mahout training or riding you can usually go out to see elephants at one of the many elephant camps located on the outskirts of Chiang Mai.
Having ridden elephants in the past, we had no desire to do it again on this trip.
So we set out, with bunches of bananas in hand, to one of the local camps.
This particular camp was set up for mahout training. You can take a one day to week-long course for mahout training where you'll learn all about the elephants, clean and feed them, and eventually bond and ride them.
This particular camp had several mothers who had young with them. They stay very close to their mothers and will come running when the mother calls.
Bananas are a great treat for the elephants, swallowing them peel and all.
There are no working (logging) elephants left in Thailand today. There are still pockets living in the wild but the easiest way to see them is at the camps set up to train them for the tourist trade. It may seem cruel for some but for the most part, the camp elephants are healthier and safer than the few remaining in the wild.
As the voices for protection of these magnificent creatures grows, the more humanely they are treated in captivity. No riding platforms are erected on the elephants at this particular camp and the elephants here have plenty of free roaming ground.