Elepants recently took a trip to Northern Thailand in order to meet up with our manufacturers and take a much needed look at the Save Elephant Foundation. It was a fantastic way to both quality check our pants, sit with some sweet elephants, and eat some delicious papaya salad! First things first, we need to see the elephants.
On a somewhat rainy day we headed through the lush green hills of northern Chiang Mai to enter the gates of the Elephant Nature Park. As we unloaded off the bus we suddenly felt a temperature difference. The Elephant Nature Park is where rescued elephants, saved by the Save Elephant Foundation, head to enjoy their freedom. Situated in the middle of a small valley, the Elephant Nature Park looks like every depiction of a heaven on earth, and the elephants seem to believe so too.
We were able to have a very lucky meeting with the SEF's founder, Sangdeaun 'Lek' Chailert. Not only did she start one of the world's most noble foundations for animal conservation, but she has been on the forefront of the worldwide push to end the ivory trade. She is truly an inspiration to anyone who believes in animal rights. She usually finds herself very busy, running multiple parks for the elephants and the foundation, we were honored and happy to have a chat with her!
We met dozens of elephants and paid special attention to the ones we had read about. Reading about twisted ankles, broken legs, and blind elephants is one thing, seeing them up close is another. The pain that they're in from previous years of working is, to say the least, nauseating. Even with their pain, they're happy. They live with it, but it does not let them deter from doing what they like. Over time they have let go of their distrust of humans and begin to bring their tusks up as to ask "are you gonna feed me or...". It is truly is a special place, and one that if you find yourself in northern Thailand, you should certainly visit.