Elephants & me…

I completely love elephants. I think my fascination started when I was a little girl in South Africa, when we used to get one whole hour of the incredible David Attenborough’s wildlife programme on TV and I’d watch incredible footage of elephants on the African plains, in their highly developed social structures, behaving so much like people the way they interacted with their family herds. I remember refusing to go to any circus that abused elephants (or any other wild animals) for entertainment. It was (and still is) impossible for me to understand how people had the audacity to take a wild animal out of its natural environment in the first place, and then humiliate it into doing stupid antics for a crowd willing to pay to see such awful stuff. And then, many many years later, there came THE book, The Elephant Whisperer, written by an amazing man called Anthony Lawrence who is tragically no longer with us. He revealed to me the depth of elephant intelligence, their sensitivities and so much more. When I’d finished the last chapter, I wanted to give up PR and go work with elephants somewhere, anywhere, just to be close to them and bond with them on some level. Now, I’m in Thailand on vacation – it’s my third time – and what’s happening with the Asian elephant in some parts of the country is very distressing. Many are made to work from tiny, or perform with balls, paint pictures and worse. It’s heartbreaking. I’ve never seen this in person- the images are enough – but it’s going on every day, several times a day, anywhere where there’s a tourist willing to part with his Baht. Near to where I am staying on Koh Phangan, close to Phaeng Waterfall, is a small elephant trekking outfit. I’ve met the elephants up close, talked a bit to them, given them fruit, touched their trunks and looked into those gentle eyes. I think they are well treated at this camp and trekking isn’t cruel as far as I can tell- it’s a tough one I realise, as the elephants are the livelihood for many a Thai and they have a tradition with elephants that goes way back. Still, if only they were free. If I could (it may yet happen) I’d love to open an elephant sanctuary on this island and let these unique animals retire there in peace, free from being poked with sticks and made to do silly unnatural acts. We need to remember to honour the creatures…being kind to animals isn’t an option, it has to be our commitment, no matter who we are, or what our circumstances…

Support an elephant sanctuary somewhere today…in Thailand: www.elephantnaturepark.org / www.blesele.org / www.elephantnaturefoundation.org and many more…

  Until next time,

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