Heading off to my next adventure, I did what any other typical tourist would do visiting Thailand. See the elephants. Being a complete animal lover, I knew I wanted to only partake in an ethical experience. With little to no research only asking the tour staff sales “ Do they look after the elephants”? Are the elephants in their natural environment? After being reassured by the staff, I booked and paid for my ticket.
Now a little hint for anyone travelling to Thailand. There is little English to be heard and most Thai’s suffer from the famous ‘yes syndrome’. Saying ‘yes’ without really understanding what you’re saying. In Thailand, It’s the polite thing to do!
The next day I was picked up by a Tuk Tuk and headed to the mountains, just a 30 minute drive from Phuket. When I arrived I was in shock with the view of a small concrete swimming pool with three elephants and tourists bathing. What the hell!! I thought to myself! For a few minutes I fought with conflicting ideas in my head, whether to turn around right then and there, or stay. There were other tourists there bathing the elephants in this pool and there were a handful of staff including young children around. In that moment, I swallowed my pride, my beliefs and values were turned away and I went ahead at my turn.
Now don’t be fooled! Yes in my pictures I share below, I look very happy and that’s because I was! I was standing next to the most amazing, beautiful elephant who was so gentle and calm. However when I looked into her eyes I could see the pain she has suffered. My stomach was twisting and turning. My heart was hurting.
After the experience was over, I was feeling disappointed with myself and my actions. I too was thankful for being so up and close to the beautiful girl Mahla. When I got back to my accommodation, I researched elephants, elephant cruelty and elephants sanctuary’s. And to my relief, the elephants at ‘The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary’ have all been rescued from Thailand and being subject to these poor practises. I have attached the link to visit the website and have photos below. Be sure to check out the amazing volunteering options they have available for tourists.
With all this being said, we often do have a hard time talking about adversity—but staying silent when our animal friends are suffering, must change quickly. Resilience can be looked at as our strength and speed to deal with these difficult situations. It’s a skillset we develop over the course of our lives, and if we have not previously been shown before, there are simple steps we can take to build resilience along the way. Taking small but necessary steps can help put an end to animal cruelty and in particular elephant exploration in Thailand.
Below are the experiences we can say no to-
Bathing with elephants
Riding of elephants
Photography with elephants
Circus of elephants
If we can fight permanence against these acts, by building resilience alongside these elephants, we too can take steps to help these elephants heal.
If we treat these elephants with the same kindness and understanding we show each other as humans, than that is showing compassion. When we believe that we can make a difference that’s confidence in our ability. When we practise compassion with confidence and develop these skills we develop and build resilience!
For the love of the elephants, together we can make a difference.
Nov Blogpost. 17