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Meet elephants ethically
At Pattaya Elephant Sanctuary they really care about elephants. It has been set up by Renu and her family who have lived with elephants all their lives. They used to live in the Surin province where the largest population of captive elephants is found. It didn’t feel right for Renu to keep the elephants captive.
For a long time she did not know how to give elephants a better life till she met Lek Chailert of Save Elephant Foundation. Lek protects and improves the lives of elephants throughout Asia. To raise money and increase respect for the elephants she promotes and supports ethical elephant tourism. Renu and her family have followed their heart and built a jungle sanctuary of 7,5 acre (ready in 2019). Here they provide a caring home for already three rescued elephants: Somkid (1967), Frank (2014) and Thangthai (1978).
Their aim is to rescue more elephants. In the sanctuary is room for 10 elephants. They want the elephants to live as naturally as possible and to be respected by people. Don’t expect elephant rides or shows here. What you will experience is an intense and ethical encounter with 3 beautiful elephants. You also learn more about these highly intelligent mammals like they eat up to 150 kg per day. Frank weighs approximately 600 kg and the females Somkid and Thangthai between 2500 – 3000 kg. Somkid used to work in the forestry industry as well as providing elephant rides at a trekking camp. When Thangthai was rescued, she was very thin and had wounds on her head from being beaten with a bullhook. Frank was begging for food on the streets with his mahout day and night. Separated from his mother and forced to walk on the hot noisy roads was a traumatic experience for him. When they came to the sanctuary they were all physically and psychologically exhausted.
They find most of their food themselves in the jungle. Highly nutritious food such as bananas and pineapples with lots of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and proteins needs to be fed. During Covid they have had hardly any income. If you have the opportunity and feel compassion for elephants your support is more than welcome. They have interesting and fun programs with preparing food, feeding, walking and watching elephant in their natural surroundings. You really get connection with these great mammals.
You spend a few hours intensively with them and will experience that Somkid loves to pose with you and Frank to play. Frank is a naughty kid that wants to go his own way and play. It makes you laugh. This is the place to be in Pattaya for animal and nature lovers.
Contribution to well-being
Let elephants live as naturally as possible, that is what Pattaya Elephant Sanctuary is about. That means no chains or bullhooks, no riding or performances and limited interaction with people. It is a great joy to see that Pattaya Elephant Sanctuary provides 3 elephants with a safe home where they can live free from work and be happy elephants.
Living naturally means for elephants freedom to express their natural behaviours such as foraging in the jungle, interacting with each other, playing in the mud and bathing in the pool. They offer programs guided by the elephants and their natural behavior. No shows or elephant riding. No chains! They want you to spend valuable time with the elephants in an ethical way and learn more about their natural lives and behaviors.
Morning and afternoon programs
There is a morning program from 9.30 am – 0.30 pm and an afternoon program from 2 – 5 pm. In the program you have the opportunity to prepare food and feed the elephants, walk with them along jungle trails while they forage, and observe them interacting with each other while taking a mud bath and playing together in their pool. Including an English speaking guide, a vegetarian lunch of dinner, drinks and transfers from and to your hotel the costs are 2500 baht from 12 years old and 1250 baht for children 4-12 years old. The costs are very much needed to finance the natural life of the current 3 elephants. If there is more financial support, they want to extent the sanctuary and rescue more elephants.
Good to know
Booking is necessary as the number of people per program is limited and the program starts at 9.30 am or 2 pm. There are no other options than the programs. For the program your passport details are required for their Insurance Agreement. In addition is suggested: sunscreen, hat, insect repellent, reusable water bottle (water dispenser for refills are available), comfortable walking shoes, clothes that can get dirty and are respectful to the local culture (no bikinis or overly revealing clothing), camera/video.
The elephants now living at Pattaya Elephant Sanctuary previously endured much hardship in their lives. They were forced to perform in shows and be used for elephant riding, or were taken to the streets to beg for food or did hard work in the forest. Now they live together with Renu and her family peacefully in the jungle.
They encourage other elephant owners to adopt this compassionate approach to elephant tourism for the benefit of the elephants and to provide visitors with a more gratifying, authentic experience. Also a monthly donation or even financial adoption are very much appreciated.
Elephants are highly intelligent, empathic animals with a social structure based around supporting the needs of each other. The two mature female elephants, Thangthai and Somkid, provide for instance emotional support to the smaller Frank. They enjoy each other’s company throughout the day while taking mud baths together, playing in the pool, or foraging while wandering the sanctuary. Realize what freedom does with elephants and make the connection with your own life. How much freedom do you experience in your daily life?