3 Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries to Visit in Thailand
Thailand has become an increasingly popular travel destination with its picturesque beaches, beautiful and mystifying temples, the gorgeous scenery, and the friendly culture throughout the country.
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While Thailand is welcome to many visitors each year, it can be a dangerous place for some of its native inhabitants, specifically the Indian Elephants. Indian Elephants are a subspecies of Asian Elephants that are endangered mainly due to habitat changes and the deforestation of Thailand. Some of these majestic creatures have been domesticated and are in the care of locals.
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It has become popular for tourists to go to an elephant park or camp to see the Asian Elephants up close, but it is important to choose an ethical elephant sanctuary within Thailand to make sure you are not supporting the harm of these endangered animals.
Ethical elephant sanctuaries within Thailand will not allow tourists to ride the elephants, as this causes irreversible damage to the elephants’ spines. The added weight across their spine for a prolonged period of time inflicts pain and may cause lifelong damage. If an elephant sanctuary provides elephant rides, please find another elephant camp and do not support the cruel mistreatment of these animals.
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Elephant Jungle Sanctuary - Phuket and Chiang Mai
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary has two locations within Thailand. This sanctuary is home to over 30 elephants who were rescued from abuse and mistreatment. Their goal is to provide these elephants with love, care, and enough space to live and roam freely. They offer half-day and full-day excursions, and an option to stay overnight.
Photo: Unsplash-Evan Krause
Elephant Nature Park - Chiang Mai
Lek Chailert, the founder of Elephant Nature Park, founded the sanctuary to rescue Indian Elephants from being tortured through the tourist market. The money spent to visit the nature park is used directly to care for the elephants and to help raise money to expand the park and purchase more elephants from their abusive owners. Visitors may partake in a half-day or full day excursion with a variety of options on how they wish to spend their day. They also offer an overnight excursion and volunteer opportunities within the sanctuary.
Photo: Unsplash-Jakob Owens
Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary - Chiang Mai
Operating on over 600 acres of land, Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary offers a hands-on elephant experience as you help to gather their food, bathe the elephants, and walk beside them through the jungle. Boon Lott’s requires all visitors to reserve their space ahead of time as their visitation packages include a reservation in one of their on-site bungalows.
If you are planning a trip to Thailand, make sure to check out these ethical sanctuaries for a once-in-a-lifetime elephant experience. Happy traveling!
- Rachel Wirth