One Coast Magazine March-April 2018

Page 84

Samui Elephant Sanctuary Symbols of strength and wisdom, the elephant is believed to be sacred and incredibly valuable in many cultures, especially Thailand. In this way you would have thought that these majestic animals are to be preserved and taken care of rather than exploited. Sadly, and again I say this as especially in Thailand it is exactly that what we have done. How many of us have come to Thailand and excitedly looked forward to some elephant trekking or a ride on one of these beautiful creatures. But can we really excuse this with our innocence as behind the scenes these splendid animals were beaten into submission and forced to walk on red hot tarmac roads and act out unnatural circus acts. But luckily things are changing and especially with social media people all over the world are starting to realize what has been happening and promoting sanctuaries taking in abused neglected and exploited elephants both here in Thailand and abroad. It is through these incredible organizations working to raise public awareness, conserve the elephants’ native habitat, and ensuring the elephants in their care are safe for the remainder of their lives, that we can begin to hope for the future of the species. In the wild, elephants are migratory, walking miles each day.They form intricate family structures and grieve for their dead in a more-than-instinctive way.They show humour and express compassion.The Elephant Sanctuary’s mission is to give elephants the freedom they deserve. Elephant riding or trekking in Thailand is easy to do. What’s not so simple is finding a reputable place that cares about and protects its elephants. Therefore, we are so thankful that the Samui Elephant Sanctuary has opened to provide captive elephants with individualized care, the companionship of a herd, and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being, and to raise public awareness of the complex needs of elephants in captivity, and the crisis facing elephants in the wild. 84


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