by Volunteers Mike Thompson and Kelsey Smith
All of our elephants have the joys of spending their evenings in the jungle which would of course be their natural habitat in the wild. We like to provide our elephants with enriching experiences that keep them mentally stimulated and it is quite clear to us that the jungle is a very happy place.
Our Volunteers are able to accompany the wonderful Kwan-changs as they accompany their elephants into the jungle. It’s an amazing opportunity to see some wonderful scenic spots in the wilderness of Thailand and watch the girls be as destructive as they care to be with the abundant foliage.
Mike, one of our Volunteers, shown bottom left, worked with elephants in UK before coming to the Park. After his 9 months at PNEP, he commented, “The life and welfare of these elephants outshine a lot of parks around the world. The time and effort each Kwan-chang put in to what they do is fantastic and I am thrilled to have been a part of this and see vast areas of the jungle, watching the elephants bathe in the river and eat vegetation just as their wild counterparts do.”
Mike went on, “As research shows, elephants in human care can live a lot longer than wild elephants because we can meet their individual needs on a daily basis through health checks, bathing and interaction. My biggest highlight by far has been joining these magnificent animals out in the jungle to see them in their natural habitat.”
Kelsey, another of our wonderful Volunteers, below right, has spent the last four months of her stay getting to know each and everyone of our beautiful herd. Kelsey has become particularly well acquainted with our 37-year-old female, Tong-Sri and her Kwan-chang, Jak. When asked about the highlight of her stay with us at Phang Nga Elephant Park she said ‘going out into the jungle with Tong-Sri and Jak was an unforgettable experience and I am privileged to have been a part of it. Having watched Tong-Sri bathe and roam in a natural setting similar to that of her wild habitat was incredible.”
She added, “Not many people get to experience such a close bond with elephants and watch them as carefully as I have over this past few months. It is clear to me after experiencing jungle life that heading into the most secluded parts of Thailand’s countryside is the most enriching experience that a domesticated elephant can have; it was quite clear that Tong-Sri was in her element and it is great that her dedicated Kwan-chang dedicates his time to enhancing her lifestyle.”
Throughout the Volunteers’ time at the Park they have managed to capture some exclusive snaps and videos of jungle life that they are eager to share with you all. We hope that you take the time to look through these carefully, and see the content faces of our wonderful girls (and Volunteers!).