When we have exclusive sanctuaries for tigers, lions, rhinos, giraffes, Orangutans, and kangaroos, why not for elephants exclusively?
In Chiang Mai, there are elephant retirement communities, which are catching up with other nations where elephants live in large numbers.
We will look into the elephant sanctuaries, and camps in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Reason for Elephant Retirement Communities:
It is disheartening to note that even elephants are abandoned at various ages and for different reasons. It includes injured calves, aged mother, expired mother, human conflicts, draught, fire, and other natural calamities.
Such pachyderms are cared for by experts in exclusive sanctuaries. In addition, the elephant retirement parks also care for retired elephants from work such as shifting huge logs in forests, leading the religious processions, etc.
Why Thailand leads the elephant care in the world?
Elephants are the national symbol of Thailand. It is officially called the Elephant Kingdom. Finally, white elephants are found only in Thailand.
Elephant Retirement Communities in Chiang Mai,Thailand
Maesa Elephant Camp
The camp’s slogan is, “Elephants are our Heart”. It shows their love for these gentle giants.
You can consider it as the number one elephant retirement park in the world.
In Chiang Mai province, the park is taking care of mostly aged elephants. In addition, a few abandoned calves are also cared for inside the camp.
Look at the thoughtfulness of the park authorities. They have developed a mud pond. We all know the pachyderms simply love playing with mud.
To maintain their livelihood, the park has a mini forest, a large meadow, and a running stream.
When you visit the elephant rehabilitation park, you can walk with them inside the forest, watch them enjoying freely in the stream and in the mud pond.
You can feed them also, but not any food you brought.
This elephant retirement community is now called, “The Chang”, allows free movement of the animals within the camp.
After seeing the video clip of the Maesa Elephant Camp, noticing how the animals are thoroughly enjoying the freedom, you will surely make an attempt to visit the park in Chiang Mai.
Baan Chang Elephant Park.
The children really love these Asian giants-isn’t it?
The baby elephants are very playful. In this elephant sanctuary, riding on the elephants’ back is strictly not offered.
Here is an interesting activity in the park. You can watch how mahouts are trained to take care of the elephants.
They learn to communicate with the elephants, and understand their needs from different movements, and postures.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
It’s a network of sanctuaries for elephants across Thailand. Apart from Chiang Mai, you can visit it in Koh Samui, Phuket, and Pattaya.
In all the elephant reserves in Thailand, the jungle staff and elephant mahouts patiently tell the visitors about elephants’ moods, and behaviors.
You can see how much an adult elephant or a baby elephant can eat, and how they are fed.
Another very interesting activity in elephant camps is watching them bathing and how they spoil their gleaming look as soon as they finish bathing.
This and other elephant rejuvenation centers in Thailand can be visited only by joining an organized tour.
The tour fee includes:
- Pick up and drop from your hotel
- Food and water
- Option food to elephant if you want to feed with your hands
- Watching elephants taking a mud bath and regular bathing
In the video clip below, see how the visitors spend time with the elephants. Mud bath is also captured.
They are really enjoying-right? I mean both the visitors and the pachyderms.
Retirement Park for the elephants.
Here, you can see how tenderly the old and retired elephants are taken care of. This elephant’s retirement park is already 9 years old.
Blue Tao Elephants Village
The setting is amidst thick tropical forest, which is a natural habitat for the big and gentle mammals.
When you visit this elephant village in Chiang Mai, you get a rare opportunity to take an elephant or two for a walk through the forest.
On your path, you will come across hidden waterfalls, and Jungle Rivers. You can lead your elephant friends to the water body and watch with fun their bathing activity. They simply love playing with the water.
This elephant sanctuary is conveniently located adjacent to Doi Inthanon Nation Park.
Your hotel reception desk can arrange to buy either a full day or half a day tour of the Blue Tao Elephant Village.
Is it possible to stay a night in an elephant retirement park?
Yes, most of these sanctuaries offer a facility to spend a night in the forest.
How many elephant camps are there in Chiang Mai alone?
As many as 15 elephant retirement parks are in Chiang Mai. Since the activities are almost the same as I mentioned above, I did not elaborate much about other elephant communities.