Elephant Nature Park on Phuket News Feed

Elephant Nature Park on Phuket

A special welfare centre to offer care to elephants – injured or retired from working in Thailand’s tourism industry – is soon to open in Phuket.

The park, which is due to open in August, will be situated in Thalang as a sister venture to projects located in Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Surin and also in Cambodia neighbouring Cambodia.

The opening of the park shows Phuket’s commitment to caring for Thailand’s beautiful pachyderms, which are in fact the national animal of Thailand. It will be positioned near the Khao Phra Thaew Wildlife Sanctuary on 70 rai of land that has been donated by Montree Todtan, a former owner of At Hill Adventure Park in Chalong.

Khun Montree was accompanied by Sangduan “Lek” Chailert, the founder of Save the Elephant Foundation, on an inspection of the site last week, Louise Rogerson, founder of the Elephant Asia Rescue and Survival Foundation (EARS Asia) will be project director of the park.

“An elephant welfare camp is a necessity,” says Lek. “I investigated elephant centres here and found that many elephants are too old to work, some are blind, injured and too disabled to be sent home, then they die. It’s very sad.”

According to ENP Phuket, there are a total of 26 elephant camps across the popular tourist island. Almost every tourist is presented with a tour package that includes elephant trekking or an elephant show.

“I was asked by tourists why Phuket does not provide welfare care for its elephants. That is part of our motivation to open the park. Also, tourists must realise that wildlife is best seen roaming free and when more care is given to the animal.”

Lek is well-known around the world for her campaign to take care of the beautiful creatures, and has been featured on popular television documentaries including National Geographic and Animal Planet. She was named as one of Time magazine’s “Heroes of Asia” in 2005 for her impressive conservation work.

Eleven elephants are due to make a new home at the park when it opens It will later be extended to 100 rai to accommodate more of the animals. Money raised by tickets will go directly to the welfare of the elephants and other wildlife on the reserve.

“Our new project, Elephant Nature Park Phuket will embrace a different type of elephant tourism. We will be removing the saddle and allowing our elephants to walk and forage naturally in the forest, to socialise with each other, to bathe and play in the lagoon, and to roam free,” said ENP in an official statement.




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