I got an email from my best friend Erin this morning reminding me that I haven't blogged about the ellies yet. How could I have forgotten about the sweet elephants? I literally have hundreds of elephant photos, so here are just a few!
When we were in Chiang Mai, we spent the day at the Elephant Nature Park and it truly was my favorite day of the trip. The Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center where you can volunteer. There are no elephant rides at this place - it's all about nuturing and caring for the elephants, especially injured ones. I swear, the stories of how these poor animals have been abused would break your heart.
We started the day by getting to know the ellies and feeding them lunch. They eat watermelon, bananas, cucumbers, and pumpkins... and the amount that an elephant can put away is incredible. You just have to place the food into their trunk and they pop it into their mouth. While they're chewing, their trunk will find it's way back to you so there's always some food in their fist on deck. Intelligent animals, I tell ya...
I love this photo of the man being attacked by trunks... they spotted his bag of food!
After lunch comes bathtime, where the elephants were led to the river and we splashed buckets of water all over them. The first time we started doing this, I started laughing so hard because the elephant we were washing had THE BIGGEST smile on it's face. Bathtime really seemed to be enjoyed by all.
We were entertained by a few elephant tricks and again, I can't even tell you how smart the ellies are.
The best trick was a sweet elephant that gave kisses. She would press her trunk up against your cheek and give you a big wet smooch, complete with the kissing sound...
Please click HERE to read more about the herd that is at the Elephant Nature Park. As you can see, these elephants have all been thankfully rescued and you can easily sponsor an ellie... they deserve a lovely life!
My favorite? This little baby ellie that we got to feed. How can you not fall in love with that little trunk?
Erin and her boyfriend Pete had spent a week volunteering at Surin Project - which is an amazing place to work with elephants and improving conditions for their lives. Erin became quite attached to the babies there and I mercilessly teased her... until I met the babies at the ENP and now I too have become quite mushy over elephant baby photos.
Please check out both the Elephant Nature Park and Surin Project if you are headed to Thailand... it is an experience that you surely do not want to miss.