Friday, August 17, 2012

Elephant Mother & Baby Rescue

Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Northern Thailand where you can volunteer and visit to help. We have been involved in dozens of rescues to create our thriving elephant herd.
The park provides a natural environment for elephants and other animals under our care. Volunteers and visitors contribute to the healing while learning about their lives past and present.

Located in Northern Thailand near Chiang Mai

Tong Jan:  
Born 14 February 2005;  
She was rescued from a Trekking Camp to the Elephant Nature Park on July 1, 2005.

Tong Jan was born on Feb 14th 2005 at a nearby trekking camp. Her name means ‘Golden Moon’. She arrived at Elephant Nature Park with her mother Mae Bua Tong, on July 1st 2005. Thanks for funding her rescue goes to Olivia Daniel and her parents.

Olivia came to the Park as a volunteer in April 2005. She fell in love with the work Lek is doing and wanted to help in some way. For her approaching 21st birthday her parents wanted to buy her a car, but she asked them if the money could be used to rescue elephants instead, and they wholeheartedly agreed.

Tong Jan’s mother was sent back to work shortly after she was born, and Tong Jan had no choice but to follow along behind her. She became weak and frail from lack of sleep. Volunteers on their way to Elephant Haven would always see her mother, foraging for extra food after a hard days trekking, with Tong Jan struggling along behind her. They felt sorry for this duo and told Lek about them. She contacted their owner to see if they could be bought, and found that a deal could be made.

Tong Jan and her mother arrived at Elephant Nature Park after a three hour walk, accompanied by Olivia, other volunteers and Elephant Nature Park staff. Upon arrival there was rumbles and trumpets of excitement from the herd females. Everyone tried to win Tong Jan over, to be chosen as ‘auntie’. After about 3 hours it seemed that Mae Elu and Thai had won the positions. Somboon took a month before deciding that she wanted to help raise Tong Jan as well, and took over Mae Elu’s position for a while.

The young Tong Jan has grown to be one of the Park’s greatest success stories. Her mahout patiently applies Lek’s training methods using positive reinforcement each day. Tong Jan is learning all the basic skills of a domestic working elephant (though she will never work a day in her life) through a reward system using bananas. With her mahout’s whole-hearted participation in her training, she is learning fast. Tong Jan is already living proof that elephants can indeed be trained without the need for physical dominance or abuse.

Bathing Time in the River, Tong Jaan in the foreground


Splashing and Playing

 ... and just enjoying and having a good time.
Elephants Love Water.


Elephant Nature Park is a unique project set in Chiang Mai province, Northern Thailand. Established in the 1990's our aim has always been to provide a sanctuary and rescue centre for elephants. The park is located some 60km from the city, and has provided a sanctuary for dozens if distressed elephants from all over Thailand.

Elephant Nature Park Mission Statement

  1. Sanctuary for endangered species: We provide homes for these animals as well as contributing to their welfare and development.
  2. Rain Forest Restoration: One of the most exciting developments at the park is our programme of tree planting the surrounding area. The ecological balance of plants and animals will be encouraged by the re-introduction of the rain forest. Some 25 acres of the mountainside will be planted every year for the first 5 years.
  3. Cultural Preservation: To maintain, as much as possible, the cultural integrity of the local community. By creating employment and purchasing agricultural products locally we are assisting the villagers in sustaining their distinct culture. Park managers are recruited locally to oversee the park's progress.
  4. Visitors Education : To educate visitors, individuals, study groups, schools and interested parties. Emphasis on the plight of the endangered local species will be presented in an entertaining and constructive manner. Future phases will include audio / visual equipment and other modern educational aids. It is anticipated that small conferences and workshops will be organised at the park.
  5. Act independently : of pressure groups and political movements that we consider contrary to the well being of the park and the creatures in its care.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Til next time,