Friday, September 6, 2013

Amazing rescued elephants from Thailand

Hi everyone! As always, it's been way too long since I've posted.  I've been drinking up the end of summer and doing some awesome shoots around the DC area.  And I finally buckled down and edited the rest of the photographs from my trip!  These ones were taken at the Elephant Nature Park outside of Chiang Mai was a huge highlight of my trip. It seems like everyone who goes to Thailand wants to see elephants, but what most people don't know is that a lot of these elephants are mistreated.  Elephants are strong and sensitive creatures and the training process their owners put them through to break their spirits is really awful.  Many elephants are brought to big cities like bangkok so their owners can earn money from tourists but they are not built for the busy life (they pick up sensations from miles away through their feet and are totally overwhelmed by traffic).  Also, they eat a lot--like over 1,000 lbs of food a day and people rarely feed them enough.

Seeing these problems, a little but brave lady named Lek decided to start rescuing elephants.  It started with one and today it's almost 30.  Mostly these elephants have been bought out of bad situations after they've been trained but she has been able to train one completely wild elephant just through love and positive reinforcement. Also, they have rescued over 200 dogs who all lounge around the center like they own the place.  It's an expensive visit and definitely very touristy but so worth it.  Plus, I really like to see places like this find a strong income stream (although I think they could always use more if you want to donate).  This bustling business keeps the elephants eating plenty of bananas and cucumbers, many dogs safe, and tourists happy to have seen such peaceful elephants. 

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