En­joy ele­phants get­ting a bet­ter life

Stanthorpe Border Post - - ESCAPE - Dar­ren Hallesy

OVER re­cent years the at­ti­tude to­wards the use of an­i­mals for tourism pur­poses has shifted.

In Thai­land, ele­phants have been used for log­ging and tourist rides for decades, but one at­trac­tion on the is­land of Phuket is out to change that.

The Phuket Ele­phant Sanc­tu­ary opened in 2016.

It is a 12ha prop­erty ded­i­cated to al­low­ing res­cued ele­phants to live out their days the way na­ture in­tended.

The sanc­tu­ary is open to and re­lies very much on tourists.

Vis­i­tors are shown around by a vol­un­teer guide to see the ele­phants, get up close and even feed them by hand.

Be­fore em­bark­ing on foot, all vis­i­tors are shown a video of how the sanc­tu­ary came to fruition.

As you walk around the sanc­tu­ary, the ele­phants go about their busi­ness, in­clud­ing hav­ing a bath or be­ing fed hand­fuls of the 200kg of food they eat each day.

It’s not ev­ery day you get to feed an ele­phant a wa­ter­melon – a morn­ing or af­ter­noon tour high­light you won’t for­get. Th­ese gi­ants are clearly happy and inquisitive about na­ture. Most of the ele­phants are old, some more than 70 years, and in one case to­tally blind. But with ded­i­cated car­ers who spend all day with them, it al­lows th­ese mag­nif­i­cent an­i­mals to learn to trust hu­mans again. More in­for­ma­tion at phuket ele­phantsanc­tu­ary.org

Photo Con­trib­uted:

BIG DRAW­CARD: The Phuket Ele­phant Sanc­tu­ary is chang­ing the is­land's tourism in­dus­try.

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