Friday, November 13, 2015
Oh my goodness!! What a day!!
We all met downstairs at 8:30… well, most of us! Turns out a few of our group stayed out until about 4:30am!!!! Two of the four could not get out of bed. The other two joined us… Zack was very chipper, Sara faded quickly. Anyway, amid the pouring rain, we loaded up and headed off for the long drive up to see the elephant sanctuary!!
Looking out into our courtyard in the pouring rain.
We are dry in the van: Joe, Shelley, Zack, Sara, Michelle and Sandy
Water was very deep in areas.
The little kid is under the rain poncho on the back of the bike.
Two monks under an umbrella on the back of a motorbike.
The facility and program is wonderful.
Heading off on a tour of the elephant sanctuary.
Website address: http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/enp/en/22-elephant-sanctuary-cambodia-weekly-volunteer There is an excellent video on the page that gives a great overview of what is happening in Cambodia and the plight of the elephant.
This park is a part of the larger organization: The Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand
There are many volunteer opportunities offered there. (I will be working at the dog facility for a month next year!) http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/enp/en/18-dog-rescue-project-weekly-volunteer
We met our guide and the current group of volunteers, toured the facility and saw a few videos about the elephant’s plight and situations in Thailand and Cambodia. Eye opening.
There is solar power in use. The power is only turned on from 6-9pm.
A water purification system that is used by the entire village.
A local dog, with a ridge. She is not nice. Acts nice then tries to bite. There were three of these dogs at the facility, none of them were nice.
We got to join everybody for a fantastic vegan buffet! Don’t know what we ate, but it sure was good! I have been wanting to take a cooking class in Siem Reap, but now I want to take a cooking class here at the sanctuary! Wow, the food was fantastic!
A long tailed Macaque. These primates are taken from private homes, rehabilitated and turned out back into the wild.
One of the huts where volunteers stay.
We watched some very informative videos.
This little girl was visiting with her mom and sister from Australia. She was a hard worker.
After lunch we helped fill little bags of dirt and plant seeds. These will be added to the already planted hundreds of thousands of trees trying to reforest the countryside. It was hot and dirty work, but fun to share in the task with the other volunteers.
Michelle filling plastic bags with dirt for seeds.
Zack digging in the dirt.
Joe planting seeds.
Some of the seeds just starting to sprout.
Sandy wheeling the bags of dirt to their special spot.
After a short rest, we chopped and prepped food for the elephants. They enjoy sugar cane (we enjoyed a bit as well!). The two elephants that live at this park are very old… in their 60’s and 70’s I think… so the sugar cane is chopped into foot long pieces and much of the tough outer fiber is cut off. The elephants also enjoy banana tree “branches” (don’t know what you call the parts of the plant…) and little watermelons! They get fresh produce of whatever is in season.
Shelley explaining some of the donations.
The proper way to chop sugar cane: Hi Yah!
Sandy removing the tough outer fiber on the sugar cane.
Wild Zack chopping some of the banana plant.
We got to go out into the field and feed the treat to the two elephants. That was an incredible experience!
Sara's tatoo! From a book her dad used to read her as a child.
Heading off to bed.
Pat and Henry.
A praying mantis.
Flocks of school kids heading home after school.
It was finally time to say good bye to our new friends and head back to Siem Reap. After cleaning up we all met for a drink and dinner at Charlies. Most of us were ready for an early evening and bed. Tomorrow is our last day… we fly out late at night…
More info about the Save Elephant Foundation
Save Elephant Foundation is a Thai non–profit organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephant population through a multifaceted approach involving local community outreach, rescue and rehabilitation programs, and educational ecotourism operations. Each of our flagship projects is aimed at accomplishing that mission, as well as working towards these goals:
to expand self-sustaining eco-tourism operations that benefit local communities and ecosystems
to better incorporate our efforts into local communities and to ensure their benefit through our continuing operation
to become a leader in the field of Asian elephant research through academic outreach and education programs
to create practical, positive reinforcement based elephant training and rehabilitation programs
to establish an international volunteer community that raises awareness to issues facing the Asian elephant
to more fully integrate with the global conservation community to facilitate dynamic cross-cultural networking
Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia http://www.saveelephant.org/elephant-sanctuary-cambodia/
The Save Elephant Foundation is working within the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary to protect and conserve 1 million acres of jungle habitat, approximately one hour north of Angkor Wat. The project spans 25,000 acres and aims to protect the land and all of the native species, flora and fauna, that call it home, including tigers, monkeys, buffalos, and of course, the Asian elephant.
Initially, this project will focus on tree planting and restoring the region’s forest and combatting the illegal logging that has taken place. Other goals for the Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia are plant and wildlife identification, seed collecting, trail-making and educational outreach. Be a part of this project from its grass-roots!
Meet the herd at Cambodia
Sponsorships are a great way to show your love, compassion and support for the elephants at Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia. The money helps to provide the best food, medical care and shelter. In return, you’ll receive a PDF certificate and periodic updates on what your sponsored elephant has been up to.
Sponsor an Elephant from Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia!
Arun Rai (bd ~ 1975), which means “Morning Sun”, was rescued from a logging camp in eastern Cambodia in January 2013. She and fellow rescue, Kham Lin, were the first to call the Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia home. Arun Rai is now enjoying her new found freedom by roaming the jungle with long walks.
Kham Lin (bd ~ 1970) Kham Lin was rescued from a logging camp in eastern Cambodia at the same time as Arun Rai. Although the two elephants are friendly to each other, they often spend their days apart.
SAF Dog Project http://www.saveelephant.org/dogproject/about-us/
Although dogs and elephants may not find themselves sharing the same space in the wild, the Save Elephant Foundation provides a loving home for both species at Elephant Nature Park.
ENP Dogs began as a result of catastrophic floods in Bangkok towards the end of 2011. In rented boats navigating the river of streets, ENP volunteers rescued dogs trapped on rooftops and desperate for help. Many dogs were too afraid to board our boats and were given fresh water, food and medical treatment to survive on their own.
Of the 2,000 dogs pulled to safety, 155 were brought to Elephant Nature Park to begin their second chance at life. Large ‘dog runs’ were built with all kinds of things for the dogs to climb on, swim in, and play amongst. A small animal hospital was constructed and a full time vet and clinic manager have been employed to care for ENP’s new family.
Since the floods, many new dogs have joined the family, several of them puppies or pregnant mothers who’ve come from the surrounding communities and have suffered malnutrition, disease, abuse and neglect. ENP Dogs has also saved many dogs destined for the illegal dog meat trade in Laos or Vietnam.
Currently ENP is home to over 400 dogs! Caring for all these wonderful animals is a full-time job, and we need your help! The project accepts weekly volunteers, so if you love dogs and are hard-working, we’d love to have you!