For 7 years in Thailand, I had the opportunity to travel to many provinces and regions of this kingdom. Happy, sad, emotional. But there was one thing until I came back to the country I realized. It is the story of elephants, symbols of Thailand. The boys behind the elephants were brought to the circus to entertain the tourists’ groups or were forced to carry wood for people. I had the opportunity to visit the Natural Elephant Park in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand and colleagues. Here, while learning about this park, I felt pain before the elephants and affirmed one more thing: our people are so evil.
They were abused and exploited by humans and mercilessly abandoned. But in the end, the elephants in Thailand finally had a peaceful place.
Located in a valley 60 km away from Chiang Mai City, the Natural Elephant Park (CVV) is 150 hectares wide, surrounded by forests, mountains and rivers. In this beautiful valley, elephants are free to roam freely on a large area. Visitors are warned not to walk around in the valley at all and especially close to the elephants without the escorts or park staff. And especially, don’t use the flash when taking photos to avoid hurting, or even blinding the elephant’s eyes.
“Shelter” for elephants
Urban people and tourists often see elephants walking on the streets of Bangkok to ask for money or circus elephants, painting, making fun in tourist areas but rarely see peaceful elephants walking in nature like like this. The feeling of walking next to the giant elephant in a vast natural space made me feel lost in Jurassic Park in the movie of the dinosaurs of the same name of some famous director and I suddenly felt How small a new person is.
But CVV is not a tourist area and the managers here never want elephants to go to make fun for people. Simply because elephants are considered a symbol of Thailand. CVV is a natural habitat and a place of salvation for elephants abused by humans. The park is taking care of 35 elephants, including 2 baby elephants. They are paid for by the CVV. Sometimes, owners feel that elephants can be sold. But if the owner of the elephant asks for too high price, CVV is determined not to buy it because the elephant owner will use that money to buy another elephant, which means adding an captured and abused elephant.
Most elephants entering CVV suffer physical or mental damage for a variety of reasons and have to undergo a period of treatment to return to normal life. Young instructor Suchet Yutthonglang said, they were abused and beaten while training to force games at tourist areas. Some are tied up to force mating. Having children trampled on mines in border areas with Myanmar. “Here, every elephant is a story,” Suchet said.
Ms. Loback-Nuknum, whose name is often called Nuk, the founder of the CVV shows guests the documentary videos of elephants being beaten by humans during training. Poor elephants are cornered into a small crib that fits their bodies. People tied their legs, tied their cords through their necks and used hook-shaped iron sticks to hit their foreheads. Painful elephants screamed in frustration. After the tortures, some children broke their legs, injured their hips or neck and forehead because of too much struggle. Many elephants died because they could not bear the cruel attacks. But it all ended, the elephants were free to walk around the CVV campus. The feeling of truly immersing into nature is here.