Anyone who wants to get up close and personal to elephants is bound to enjoy a visit to the Baan Suan Chang Elephant Camp in Koh Phangan. There are around seven elephants in the camp each with his or her own personality and visitors are encouraged to get to know these tame beasts by participating in enjoyable tasks around the camp. Feeding bananas to baby elephants is always a popular task. In fact it may not be a task at all since the bananas seem to disappear even before they are offered to the elephant. The saliva on the hand will be the only sign that there were bananas in the hand at all. Bathing an elephant also allows visitors to interact with the beasts although it will mean getting thoroughly wet while wallowing in the water to scrub the back of an elephant lying in the water, something the beast totally enjoys and visitors will never forget. Elephant rides are also popular and visitors can chose between an hour long or shorter rides. The trek through the forest usually culminates with the elephant taking a mud bath with the visitors on its back, a nerve wracking experience for many who don’t want to share the same bathing spot with the pachyderm. Anyway the beast apparently does not spill the riders into the water. Have a truly exceptional experience and get to know these appealing mammals.
The camp’s mission is to help slow the decline Asian elephants are facing by housing and feeding them, keeping them out of harm’s way and even encouraging breeding. As elephants are endangered in Thailand visitors are encouraged to visit elephant camps to support their conservation. Deforestation resulting in human – elephant conflict is the biggest threat to their existence.
As the national animal of Thailand the elephant has a special place in Thai culture. It has been a prominent mode of transport, an instrument of haulage and warfare for centuries. Unfortunately nowadays visitors can make contact with elephants only at camps.
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