Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rescued pachyderms

Saved some time out of my trip to Northern Thailand to spend a day at Elephant Nature Park with Lek's elephants. The 25 acre park is a sanctuary for animals (domestic and wild). The group is also actively engaging in reforestation of the rain forest that is in their care.
35 rescued working elephants from the Thai/Myanmar border region live on the park and there has been 7 births since 1996. The park's current herd includes disabled, orphans, and blind elephants. 
During a day trip to the park I got to meet some of the elephants and walk among them (with human and elephant minders to ensure everyone's safety). Here are the animals and their stories to learn more follow each of the embedded links.
Medo was rescued from a very remote area near the Thai/Myanmar border, and arrived at the Elephant Nature Park in June 2006. A victim of a logging accident and crippled during mating.
Jokia, a blind 52 year old female, rescued from a logging camp. Now lives in the park with a mahout who watches over her and assists her with anything she needs.She her friend, Mae Perm, that acts as her eyes to lead her around the park and forests. She is also nanny to Hope an orphaned elephant.
Mintra & Yindee. Mintra's disabilities are similar to Medo's a sloping back and limping gait. She was rescued off the streets of Bangkok where she worked as a begging elephant. Her last place of employment outside Siam Square. She gave birth to Yindee in Aug 2013. He's seen here playfully tugging at mummy's ear.

Elephant Nature Park has extended its rescue program to dogs and other domestic animals. Did you know that the dog meat trade in Thailand is worth almost as much as the drug trade, and this business is legal as there are no animal protection laws. The town of Tha Rae in Sakon Nakhorn, north east Thailand, has become the center for export of dogs through Laos and into Vietnam. Dogs are collected in exchanged for a bucket in villages throughout Thailand. These dogs are then trucked to Ta Rae. In Ta Rae the dogs are separated into grades. The best grade are sent to Vietnam the rest are slaughtered and eaten locally. Thousands of dogs are slaughtered and shipped across the Mae Kong river every month. The park currently houses over 400 rescued dogs. 
There's a cattery and a large herd of bovines (water buffalo and cow) and a sow at the sanctuary too.

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