On 23 May, our new baby elephant, Dok Mai, made her first ever trip to the mud pit with her mom, Dok Ngern. More photos to come soon! Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: Lena Quenard, from Switzerland, recently donated a very generous $14,000 USD to our Land Fund. She had been fundraising on her own with the goal of donating to help rescue an elephant. However, only two weeks ago, she read our post about our desperate need for more land. Thankfully, this story had an impact on her and she decided to change her mind and donate the money she had raised to our land fund instead.
The land that will be purchased with her funds will have a very positive impact on the lives of the elephants here at Elephant Nature Park. A passionate animal lover, Lena is rather new to the elephant world — her life was changed when she met an elephant named Moey.
This is Lena’s story, written by her. If you are interested in donating, please click here.
Being a mahout at Elephant Nature Park is quite different than being a mahout elsewhere. We encourage our mahouts to let the elephants do what they want and not intervene unless it is necessary. If they have prior experience working with elephants, this is a completely different concept than what they are used to.
At a typical elephant camp, a mahout tries to maintain total control of the elephant at all times. The elephant has little or no free roaming time and is expected to obey their mahout’s commands or face the painful consequences. A mahout spends most of the day “driving” the elephant – sitting on their shoulders or atop their head, ankus hook in hand. The elephant is always aware of their presence.
Here, at Elephant Nature Park, looking after an elephant is a mostly hands-off affair. There is no riding the elephants (except for Hope) and no bull hooks. The way we see it, our mahouts should be listening to the elephants, NOT the elephants listening to the mahouts. A good mahout has their elephant’s best interests in mind all of the time. Sadly, for many of our mahouts this perception is difficult to embrace or understand. Finding mahouts with the right personality to work with our elephants is challenging, to say the least.
So, when we notice a mahout who seems to enjoy interacting with elephants and the other animals as well, we are very grateful to have them working with us. Elephant Nature Park is lucky to have a number of mahouts who have made a positive difference in the lives of the elephants they care for.
We would like to introduce these mahouts to you, by telling you a little bit about them and a typical day looking after their elephants.
April is a month of festivity for us here at Elephant Nature Park. Songkran, the Buddhist new year, followed by Faa Mai’s birthday along with ENP’s 10-year anniversary are cause of great celebration. Thanks to Dok Ngern and the wonders of nature, we now have yet another reason to be filled with happiness and merriment this year — the arrival of Dok Mai.
We do not often advertise the possibly pregnant females who are roaming about the park. Since the gestation period is from 18 to 22 months, the build up of waiting and excitement can drive you crazy. Here at Elephant Nature Park, based on activities witnessed on several occasions, we had a feeling that a few of our females were most likely expecting.
After the birth of Navann in late October, we started to pay much more attention to the bellies, breasts and behavior of our ladies who have been reproductively active in the past two years.
Oh, to be an elephant … to fully understand their conversations and body language. They know exactly what is going on with each other and who will give birth when.
We, on the other hand, can just wait.
This time, they tricked us.
It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since Elephant Nature Park’s humble beginnings at this location. When we first came to look at this land, it seemed to take forever to get from the front of the property to the river at the back. At that time the river was so narrow it didn’t seem possible that we would actually be able to bathe elephants in it!
Do you have a blog? If so, we want YOU!
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Elephant Nature Park, Save Elephant Foundation is running a blog carnival and wants YOU to share your top 10 travel bucket list items. Dream of seeing the Northern Lights? Or, do you want to hike the Camino de Santiago?
We want to know!
If you’d like to participate in this blog carnival, simply write your post and at the end of it include this text and link:
“My top 10 bucket list post is a part of Save Elephant Foundation’s blog carnival to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Elephant Nature Park. Elephant Nature Park is celebrating 10 years of success protecting the Asian elephant, educating tourists and tour operators alike that there is another way for us to interact with these wonderful animals. Please take a moment to visit their website, visit their Facebook, and connect with them on Twitter.”
And, it can be even more fun! Nominate 10 of your blogger friends to participate, too!
Then, share your link to the post on our Facebook page. We will share with our readers via Facebook and Twitter and compile the top bucket list items with links back to your post once all have been submitted.
The carnival starts today and ends on the park’s 10-year anniversary, April 16, 2013.
We thank you so much for sharing our 10-year anniversary of Elephant Nature Park and look forward to reading everyone’s top 10 bucket list items!
Questions? E-mail email@example.com
It is hard to imagine anything more amazing than Kham Sai’s acceptance into the family group – but (!) there is yet another exciting social development in the works here at Elephant Nature Park … and it involves Mae Keow.
Many of our followers are quite familiar with Mae Keow. Almost two years ago she lost her best friend of 12 years, Lily. The passing of her dear companion shattered Mae Keow, who has not been the same since. With Lily by her side, Mae Keow was confident, sometimes a bully (known as a tail-biter) and possessive (when she was the adopted auntie of Jungle Boy,) among other things.
After Lily’s passing, Mae Keow appeared to lose her self confidence. She became shy and reclusive. She seemed to lack the social skills to make new friends and had passive/aggressive tendancies. Her only companion was her mahout of 4-plus years, Moses.
Mae Keow withdrew.
She spent most of her time up in the front corner of the park, only coming out to go to the river for bathing time. We were very worried about her, but we understood that her emotional healing had to happen in it’s own time.
A recent change in the elephant shelter arrangement became the first step in helping Mae Keow to reach out socially.
Elephant Nature Park has been waiting for this moment for a long time.
This is a story we have been longing to post. One of our most shy and withdrawn elephants, who has spent almost all of her years at Save Elephant Foundation’s ENP on her own, has finally found the friendship that she has been longing for!! The elusive Mae Kham Sai has been mentioned from time to time and known as one of our reclusive and seldom seen elephants.
Without more land, there can be no more elephants …
Ten years ago, when Elephant Nature Park first moved to the Mae Taeng valley the area was virtually undeveloped. From Mae Tamman onward, the road was rutted gravel two track, which made for a challenging drive in the rainy season. The thick forest on either side threatened to engulf the road, giving one the feeling that you were heading well off-the-beaten-path. The final bumpy descent passes a sacred spirit house nestled tight against the rocky mountainside (to honor the spirit of the mountain who has claimed a few lives in the past) followed by a sharp curve and then — voila — it seemed you had reached paradise!
The jungle and mountains opened up to reveal a fertile valley with a river winding, snake-like. From the road there were no signs of habitation anywhere … several extremely large boulders lay clustered and scattered about the landscape. But wait — one of the boulders was moving! WOW … ELEPHANTS!!!
…and there was Elephant Nature Park … in the beginning.