Some of my favorite moments from #Guadeloupe. Project skipping winter continues with my next stop: #CostaRica Taking any recommendations for #SanJose and spots to see wildlife (ideally sloths), National parks and beaches.
I hope I got your attention.
Don’t worry, the rest of these are photos of happy elephants. But before you scroll, I wanted to share my learnings from @elephantnaturepark about the suffering that continues for these elegant creatures, and how we can help.
Illegal capture/trade of elephants for tourism remains a pervasive issue. This industry continues to thrive because foreigners want to ride elephants, or watch them perform for entertainment. In order to be ridden, wild elephants are first captured, then “tamed.” And to tame a wild elephant, it is tortured as a baby through a process is called Phajaan, or “the crush,” which involves ripping baby elephants away from their mothers and confining them in a very small space where they’re unable to move. Some female elephants have even gone as far as to kill their own babies, to prevent them from suffering this fate.
Many may also think that riding elephants is humane, given their size. But any elephant that can be ridden has also formerly been abused, and likely worked in illegal logging or trekking. Their spines are also not made to support the weight of humans.
OK, so the “how can I help?” part. As with all things in life, this comes down to supply and demand. If we don’t pay to ride elephants, there will be less of them captured for our entertainment. So do your research. Find a true sanctuary that allows you to observe elephants but not ride/trek with them. Ask questions, read reviews, challenge your travel agent.
Also read this link (also in bio): https://www.elephantnaturepark.org/how-you-can-help/
Second part of the trip was with @elephanthills_thailand, where we spent one night in the Elephant camp and one in the Rainforest camp in the gorgeous Khao Sok National Park. While kayaking we saw Langur monkeys swinging from trees, without a care in the world. While hiking we saw wild boar tracks, and entered a cave with over 400 bats (and a massive spider!) It was truly awe inspiring to be surrounded by such natural beauty.
Although Elephant Hills has clearly gone to great efforts in conservation and helping to ensure that the park’s flora and fauna remain protected, I was a bit disappointed with the elephant experience. I would not say I witnessed abuse or neglect, but I also don’t feel as though the environment was structured to be 100% focused on the elephants’ wellbeing, and was more geared towards pleasing the visiting tourists. I hope to get some more information into this particular space. I also greatly look forward to spending next week on the grounds of a true sanctuary with @elephantnaturepark
First day in Thailand and it was just as amazing as I expected. Not pictured: standup paddle boarding, more monkeys, and phenomenal vegetarian Thai cuisine. Goal is to master “hello” and “thank you” in Thai by midweek... #krabi#thailand#rayavadee#funployment