This blog post, written by my son, describes the two days he spent with elephants in Thailand. Thrilled to have him as a guest blogger here! :-)
We went to Elephant Nature Park in Mae Taeng, Thailand, a town 90 minutes from Chiang Mai. The park had 41 Asian elephants. When we arrived, we saw three of them ready to be fed. Elephants know when it is feeding time on their own. Then, the elephants came toward us, and our guide showed us how to feed them. The elephants eat lots of watermelons. To feed an elephant, you need to put the watermelon behind the trunk, wait for it to hold on and put the watermelon in its mouth. I felt nice when I fed the elephants. Some elephants eat bananas and pumpkins. I touched the elephant’s big trunk which was rough like sandpaper.
We walked to the river because we were on a tour to see the elephants. We also got to pet them, but not the babies because the mother always tries to protect the baby elephant. The herd had five elephants. We watched the herd bathe. The baby was swimming and diving, splashing and cuddling with its mother in the river. We all liked the baby elephant playing. One of the elephants which was blind, thought the water in river was cold so it did not take a bath. After the bath, the herd dried their bodies, took mud in their trunks and sprayed it on their backs to keep cool. It was fun seeing them spray mud on their backs. The baby elephant loved eating food and playing with the dogs by chasing them. There are more than 400 dogs in Elephant Nature Park because they also rescue dogs and cats. Everybody thought the happy and playful baby was cute. The elephant herd was nice and happy. The herd really loved the baby elephant very much.
We ate lunch and fed more elephants bananas and water melons. Then, we walked back to the river and brought water buckets with us. We stood in the river and got wet. We learned how to bathe an elephant; we fill the bucket with water and dump it on its back. We all got soaked with water. We all had a water fight by dumping water and soaking people. Bathing the elephant was very fun. If you are bathing an elephant, it will most likely be a female because there are only six males so far. After that, we ate dinner and I had my second foot massage at the spa. The massage was very comfortable for my feet.
Later, our guide led us to our small house that we will sleep in only for that night. We had a house because we were sleeping at the Elephant Nature Park overnight. Our beds were all covered with mosquito nets all around so we didn’t get bitten by any mosquitoes. We went out for dinner and then came to our house to sleep. Our house was in a small village surrounded by lots of cats and dogs. The next day I had more fun with the big giant elephants because my first day was great.
The next day, we ate breakfast and fed more elephants. After that, we saw an elephant that was blind so it used its trunk as a walking stick to know where to walk. Her name was “Jokia” which meant “eye of heaven”. Then, we saw a male elephant named “jungle boy” with beautiful shiny white tusks. After that, we saw the same herd bathe in the river with the baby elephant splashing around. When the herd got out of the water, the baby elephant saw another baby elephant and played with it. The herd thought they lost the baby so they trumpeted very loudly. The elephant herd needs to stay alert, watch out and keep the baby elephant safe.
Next, we had lunch and then gave the elephant a bath. We got soaked even more this time. It was great. After bathing again, we saw an elephant that had a short trunk. So it ate bananas by putting them in its nostrils and blowing them in its mouth. That was cool. I wondered how the elephant felt when it blows bananas in its mouth.
Later, we fed the elephant herd lots of pumpkins. We fed the baby elephant this time. I enjoyed feeding the baby. I learned that in African elephant species, males and females both have tusks but in Asian elephant species, only males do. The Elephant Nature Park was made to protect elephants and make sure they can survive, not for enjoyment so no riding them and no teaching them circus tricks. The Elephant Nature Park helps elephants be free elephants. People kill elephants to get their tusks made out of ivory and sell them. But if we have an elephant park to protect the elephants and stop ivory trade, elephants will live happily. I had a fun time seeing elephants at the Elephant Nature Park!