Elephant Love


I’ve been smitten by elephants for a while, but my trip to the Friends of the Asian Elephant hospital in Lampang, Thailand has pushed elephant-themed holidays right to the top of my Bucket List.1-IMG_5865 1-IMG_58921-IMG_5877Although smaller than the African elephants I’m accustomed to, I was captivated by these gentle giants in this first-of-its-kind in the world facility where they are treated for anything from poor diet or shotgun or barbed wire injuries, to more serious and devastating landmine injuries.

1-IMG_5868Meet Motala (below), the 50 year old female who lost a foot in Burma, who has come to symbolise the plight of Asian elephants and the facility that has changed her life.

1-IMG_5890Founded by Soraida Salwala, the hospital is now a world leader in prosthetics for elephants who have lost limbs in landmine explosions along the Burmese border.1-IMG_5888Visit the website or better still, visit the hospital to see the amazing work being done.

1-IMG_6004The hospital is about 28km north of Lampang city, along the main highway to Chiang Mai. If you are reliant on public transport, catch the Lampang-Chiang Mai bus which runs hourly and will drop you off on the main highway, followed by a 10-minute walk to the facility.

P.S.  In keeping with growing calls for responsible tourism and  policies around not participating in activities that exploit animals, don’t expect to ride elephants here.   The nearby Elephant Conservation Centre does permit rides though.

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Elephant Love

  1. Great post. I have also visited this hospital and was so touched by the plight of the elephants. I’d love to know if the elephants I saw there some years ago still survive. Your images made me think we had seen the same female landmine victim (Motala) but closer inspection of my photos shows that the one I saw had injuries to a different foot. Great work is being done there – may it continue! If you’d like to read my post about it you can find it at http://aglasshalf-full.com/2013/08/13/encounters-with-elephants

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    • Thanks Lee. I have two very bad pictures of the noticeboards which show the residents. I wasn’t taking notes so it was my reference material that I took on the run. I’ll happily send them to you if you send me your e-mail address. I suspect the ellie you are talking about is Mosha. The ellie in the harness is still there. At least I think it’s the same one. Great post btw.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Best post ever on elephants. Unfortunately, my only encounter with elephants here in northern Thailand was at a facility that was more exploitive. I didn’t know any better at the time and it was the most visible. I lasted 10 minutes. But oddly, the Thais regard the elephant as a protector of the people. I don’t understand how that can be–and how they can be so exploited at the same time. Now, with my time for departure approaching, it appears that there may not be an opportunity to spend a day at the elephant nature park in Chiang Mai. They are booked!

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    • Thank you Gary 🙂 It was a very short visit and I would have loved to have spent more time doing something a little more useful. Bathing or bonding or feeding – any of those would have rocked my world. Try and get to the elephant hospital in Lampang – you don’t need a reservation and you’ll love the baby elephant!

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