Sometimes it feels like we are fighting a losing battle. As I have explained in Taken and Unwelcome, the Asian Elephant faces extreme challenges due to tourism, illegal logging, deforestation and the entertainment industry to name a few.
It is not only the elephants but also thousands of stray cats and dogs that face great hardships in South East Asia.
So let me tell you about how ENP and associated projects are trying their very best to help.is helping.
During my time volunteering, we were involved in providing care to elephants that have been rescued or retired to the park. When some of the elephants arrive at the park they are like zombies and in poor condition. It can take a lot of time for them to build up trust and for their physical and mental wounds to heal.
Each elephant has a mahout who will care for them, below is a photograph of Jan Peng and her mahout Patee.
Jan Peng is approximately 74 years of age. She is in pretty good shape despite spending the majority of her life working within the trekking and logging industries before retiring.
You may be wondering why she always has a red flower in her ear; this flower is not only decorative but is placed in her ear each day by Patee to cover an old scar from a bull hook. It is heart breaking to think of this gentle giant being mistreated.
While visiting Jan Peng, we medicated her with vitamin B supplements hidden in banana food balls and treated a facial abscess, she was very co-operative, no doubt due in part to the constant offerings of food throughout treatment.
It is hard to hear about Jan Peng’s past but it is wonderful that she can now live out the rest of her days in safety with all the TLC and support she needs.
There are many Elephants at ENP and other projects that need treatment and supportive care.
We were involved in providing wound care to 4 elephants with injuries caused by land mines. These wounds will never fully heal and need to be cleaned twice a day to prevent infection and necrosis.
As you can see below, these elephants have been trained to get into position for their treatment. This is achieved without aggressive means of control (bull hooks, nails, slingshots). Of course, bananas, melons and Ele pellets help a lot!
The staff and volunteers at ENP work very hard to ensure the elephants have the best care.
It is also wonderful to see the small animals, buffalo, horses, monkeys and small mammals that have also been rescued at ENP.
The small animal clinic cares for over 450 dogs. Some of these dogs were street dogs and pets abandoned during the 2011 floods in Bangkok and many are up for adoption.
The lovely dogs here can be sent all over the world to their new forever homes.
Dogs from the local village also receive treatment here for many conditions and every dog is vaccinated and neutered.
If you want to be part of a really rewarding project and get to know the Thai culture and enjoy delicious Thai food this is a really great place to do it.