Patara Elephant Camp

 


     Dear Diary,

Today Neil and I went to Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai. We were “trainers” for a day and got to “train” our own elephant. This was an amazing experience! My elephant’s name was Calm. Neil’s elephant was essentially “Pink.” (I say essentially because I cannot remember the actual word but trust me when I say I really tried to remember!) It started with an introduction to the elephant camp where we had “free” time to play with the elephants, give them water, or branches to eat. After our free time, we were introduced to our elephants, fed them, learned how to tell if a elephant is healthy and learned basic commands for mobility.

A healthy elephant: 
1. Has tears occasionally
2. Sweat coming out of their nails/feet
3. Their dung is green and is grass like with almost no odor
4. Their dirt patterns are all along both sides of their bodies (so they aren’t babying an area etc.)
5. A healthy/active flap of their ears

These are solely phonetic commands:

Ma – Walk with me (while grabbing  their ear)
How – Stop
Koi (or Toy) – Reverse
Bi – (Walk while riding)
Hu Long – Lay down
Dee Dee – Good girl/boy

Born – Head up, mouth open for eating

  

             With these commands, Neil and I were able to start our training. We started off giving them bananas, sugar cane, and tamarinds. I got to hug and congratulate Calm with “Dee Dee” I had my time in dusting off Calm before riding her up to the bathing area. It was a great experience riding an elephant bareback! At the bathing area I scrubbed the dirt off Calm very “hard” she seemed to love it! Long story short and a very “poopy” water pond, I was back on Calm’s neck. We had a short ride back to camp where we saw many villagers doing their day to day activities, laundry, creating beautiful wraps, and children giggling and running. It was an awesome day that left me feeling happy and exhausted! It was a rewarding day and I loved spending time with the elephants! (They have 63 elephants at their camp!)

 

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