We were starting the day around 11.30 in the morning, meeting at the office of the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket. On-site, we waited for our driver to bring us to the place where my childhood dream came true! Cuddling with elephants: a real once-in-a-lifetime experience! I´ve never been so near to one of these big beauties than on that day.
Feeding the Elephants – Preparing some Bananas and Watermelons
Arriving at the big park of the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, we´ve got some important instructions, how to behave in front of these big Asian creatures, which are a bit smaller than the African Elephants, but still big enough to do a lot of mischief, like our guide told us. To get in touch with these giants, we were allowed to feed them, to take pictures and to stroke them at the first place. Their skin was rougher than it looked like and their hair felt more like the prickles of a cactus or the bristles of a porky. But it was such a great experience to stand so close in front of them and that i´ve got the chance to look them directly in their wonderful dark eyes.
All visitors helped the crew to get the food ready for the elephants. After preparing watermelons, bananas, corn, rice dumplings and palm leaves, we carried the food in big baskets to these wonderful babys, who were already waiting for their lunch. Feeding them was total fun! With their trunk, they´ve grabbed everything we had in our hands. This was such a crazy experience for me. In just a few minutes, the tons of food was completely gone and we couldn´t even look fast enough. This was exactly THE moment, when I´ve realized, how much money and effort the Sanctuary has to expend to create a natural environment for the elephants to live in peace and without mistreatment or abuses.
Elephant bathing: Taking a cold shower under the warm sun of Phuket
I´ve really thought that the day could not get better, till we´ve got the chance to take a bath with the elephants. We could jump in the little natural pool where the elephants were bathing and our guide told us to rub them over with mud, which is important for their special kind of skin. At the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Phuket, they are having also a little baby right now. He is not older than one year and the man of the show! Grabbing a lot of attention, he was fooling around all the time and it was so much fun to see that happy phanty, which was funnily named after Justin Bieber. Such a heartbreaker! This little cutie has totally stolen my heart, when i watched him rolling around in the pool playing with the others. Like his friends, he also got rescued from one of the heartless companies who are mistreating elephants here in Asia, at the age of just a few weeks. Thanks to the selfless help of this organization, he is save now!
Loads of misused elephants in Thailand
But not all elephants have so much luck in their lifes than this one. The guide, which was a super friendly girl from Singapore, who is volunteering for this organization, told us a lot about the circumstances in Asia. Many companies are misusing, abusing and mistreating elephants for logging or trekking tours or just for the entertainment and excitement of the tourists: Making the most profit with less effort is their goal! Logging? What does that actually mean? I´ve never ever heard about that word before. But she was so kind and explained it to me. Logging means, that these cute animals are used for tree-felling/lumbering. They have to walk around the whole day to do the work that machines are normally doing. And don´t think, that just because they are elephants, they are never getting exhausted. They don’t even get a break or enough food and water. And if you look in the tourist and entertainment sector like circuses, trekking tours or shows, it´s even worse, how they get treated. Like slaves! If they can´t work anymore, they get killed or left alone with their injuries. You really don’t want to see pictures of that, believe me!
Support the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Phuket
Thanks to the many volunteers and friendly sponsors, who are helping the crew a lot, this place can work. And everyone can help. You just have to buy a ticket to go to this place to support this wonderful team. This costs around 2500 Baht, which is around 60-70 Euros, per person for half a day. Included is the pick-up from your hotel and they also bring you back there at the end of the day. Very delicious and fresh cooked Thai Food, enough water for everyone, some souvenirs, a professional photographer and a once-in-a-lifetime experience is also within the price. If you can´t visit the elephants in Phuket, you also have the chance to see them in Chiang Mai, where the organization has another office.
This article is a no-sponsored post. It´s my personal interest to spread this information to draw as much attention as possible towards that topic to support the good work of this institution.