Asian elephants have been domesticated and employed in agricultural and forestry work in Southeast Asia since time immemorial. In northern Thailand, the tourist attraction where elephants were ridden for rides and trained to do cute things like play ball or paint became very popular. But more and more people are calling for an end to this forced labour and for elephants not to be mistreated.
One of the Thai elephant reserves that bases its philosophy on the care and not the mistreatment of these animals is Elephant Hills, the Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuary in the Khao Shok National Park, Surat Thani. It has 12 elephants brought from northern farms where they were subjected to hard labour. They live free in 30 hectares of forest and are neither ridden, mistreated nor subjected to forced labour.
Visitors arrive in the evening and help their keepers give them their daily bath and then feed them. That’s all. A sublime experience for anyone who has never seen a majestic animal like this up close.
Khao Sok National Park is located in southern Thailand and is said to have one of the oldest jungles in the world (about 160 million years old). The jungle is home to a great diversity of plants and wildlife, and offers a variety of activities to take a break from visiting Thailand’s many temples and beach trails in the south of the country. Khao Sok offers the possibility of fantastic trekking routes through the jungle, boat rides on the spectacular Sok River, elephant watching… although what everyone who visits the park usually enjoys the most is the long tail boat ride on the huge Cheow Lan Lake and then staying in one of its famous floating huts.
-Thailand News (TN)