Today's picture comes to us from over two years ago (almost three) on what was only my second visit to Thailand. Pae and I flew up to Chiang Mai and visited some temples and elephant camps. This is us atop...I forget the elephant's name...a pretty tame pachyderm. The elephant rides are given after a show put on by the elephants. The show usually includes elephants painting, dancing, playing soccer and even shooting hoops.
On my youtube channel, there are often comments about how poorly the animals are treated while they are training. I can neither confirm nor refute these claims. When we were at Maesa Elephant Camp, all of the elephants seemed to be treated very well, fed well, bathed and even groomed. I'm not sure what goes into training an elephant to dance or kick a soccer ball, but I hope it's not cruel.
The elephants we saw performing, and this one we rode around the camp, all seemed well mannered and happy. Our "mahout", or elephant handler, hopped off and took this picture for us. The baby elephants are always cute. The older adults are always HUGE, and watching them bathe in the river is like watching kids play in the rain! So fun!
I wish you could all come one day and at least see the elephants in the wild, at a camp, or even walking up and down the soi in the evening with their handlers, although I don't care too much for the soi elephants' handlers...gangsters is more like it...poor elephants...These animals I can almost guarantee aren't taken care of as well as an elephant at a camp.