Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Day at Elephant Nature Park

by John

You've heard a few snippets about Elephant Nature Park (ENP). I'd like to give you a general idea of our time there.

A typical day was:

7:00 - Breakfast. After our long days this required several alarms each morning.
8:00 - Chores. Scooping oxen poop, elephant poop or cat poop.
9:00 - Project. This could be cleaning the oxen poop from the elephant mud pit; building a fence for a poop pit (do you sense the theme here?); or some other project. One morning we went to a local school and tried with limited success to entertain them with some camp songs.
11:00 - Feeding the baby elephant.
11:30 - Elephant feeding. Feeding them bananas, squash, corn from a large platform.
12:00 - Lunch. A huge buffet of Thai food and fruit.
1:00 - Elephant bathing. A walk to the river to splash and scrub the elephants.
2:00 - Project. This was cutting banana trees for food; vanishing a bamboo house; or, hiking to Elephant Haven/Heaven.
4:00 - Afternoon feeding and bathing.
5:00 - A video or talk or some free time. Almost all the bits of free time we had the kids helped out making elephant food, husking corn or de-seeding pumpkins.
6:30 - Dinner. A scaled down version of lunch.
7:30 - A talk, a cultural activity, a Thai massage or a bit of school work.
9:00 - Lights out after a look at the stars.

As an added bonus to the week there was another family at the park (from Denmark) and 13 children from an orphanage on the Burma/Thailand border. This is the most children they have had at the park and they did well to accomodate everyone.

During our time there we heard the stories of many of the elephants (there are currently 36 at ENP), got to know the behaviours of the elephants and gained a good understanding of what ENP is trying to do. Our time here was rewarding and educational, and affected our outlook on animal treatment.

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