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Phuket, famous for its paradise beaches and tourist friendly bars, offers a wide range of activities to the millions of people visiting the island each year. Amongst the activities fascinating tourists is the possibility to interact with the biggest living land mammal on the planet, the Elephant.
Who never wanted to stand next to one of these gigantic creatures and feel himself insignificant? Who never wanted to touch their rough skin? Who never wanted to watch elephants bathing and ‘spit water out of its trunk? To some other extent, seeing elephants perform tricks or going for an elephant ride?
The answer is everybody! Or Nobody!
People are now more and more concerned about everything going around these ‘elephants’ camps’ and are more and more regarding on what can’t be seen. Living conditions, food, treatment (good or bad), age, health, and to a more horrible point, torture…. As the world is turning more and more eco-friendly and Green, people’s consciences are turning the same. They are not ready to accept anything anymore.
Because a brand new park is set to open very soon in Phuket, the choice is now up to you. Either you go to an elephant camp for a ride, a trek, a safari… or you decide to be responsible and to visit the new Elephant Nature Park Phuket.
Elephant Nature Park (ENP) is a dedicated sanctuary for Asian elephants rescued and rehabilitated from life in the captive elephant tourism industry.
The first ENP was created in the 1990’s in the Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand. It is a unique project which purpose is to provide a sanctuary and rescue center for elephants. So far the park offered a sanctuary to dozens of elephants coming from all over Thailand. Along with elephants, the park is hosting many other rescued species. The park is claiming its duty of care toward these animals and provides the best environment possible. Its mission can be summed up in 5 points:
The ENP Chiang Mai has received numerous awards from various institutions, including the Smithsonian. Its founder was named Asian Hero of the Year in 2005. The park has been featured in many international publications such as National Geographic magazine as well as feature documentaries from Discovery Channel, BBC...
“An elephant welfare camp in Phuket is a necessity,” Ms Lek Chailert, a world-renowned elephant rescuer and founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, told.
ENP Phuket is a project born from the collaboration of Lek Chailert, Mr Montree Todtan, a local elephant camp owner, and Louise Rogerson, founder of EARS Asia, to pioneer ethical elephant tourism in this Southern province of Thailand.
“I investigated elephant camps 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.” she continued.
Ms Lek Chailert
Applying the successful scheme of the ENP Chiang Mai who currently homes over 70 elephants and has an impressive and ever growing list of elephant-friendly projects throughout Asia. This new ENP project will mirror the highest standards in welfare, retiring, rehoming and rehabilitating elephants formerly used for riding and shows in the tourism industry and will provide a sanctuary free from cruelty and abuse, giving elephants a life they truly deserve in a peaceful and tranquil forest habitat.
ENP founders: Ms Lek Chailert, Mr Montree Todtan, and Louise Rogerson
Set on a stunning location of forest land of Khao Phra Thaeo National Park in the Northeast side of the island, the Elephant Nature park is crossed by a river and has a waterfall. This Elephant Lagoon will be a central point of the complex where the pachyderms will bath.
ENP Phuket will also collaborate with Phuket International Academy and local Thai schools to educate the youth and to participate in community service programs. Programs will include care and welfare for the elephants, information about the endangered Asian Elephant, conservation and responsible tourism with wildlife.
The park will be free to visit for Thai nationals while foreigners will have to pay an entrance fee (as it is in use in ENP Chiang Mai). The money raised will be used directly to maintain the welfare of the rescued animals living on the reserve.
Right now as I write this post, the Elephant Nature Park Phuket is in its final stage of construction. Shelters are already erected and ready to welcome their first elephants. The project is in its finalization stage with the construction of the tree top reception area, and all staff are already looking forward to welcoming the first visitors.
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