Elephant ‘Owner’ For A Day


Today we had the incredible opportunity to be elephant ‘owners’ for the day!  There are several different tour companies in Thailand, particularly Chiang Mai, that offer elephant rides, bathing, and shows among other things.  Feeling a bit uneasy about the way elephants may be treated, we wanted to find an elephant experience that was more natural and meaningful not only for us, but also for the elephants.  We chose Patara Elephant Farm because of their excellent reputation and their focus on quality elephant care rather than on the entertainment of tourists.

The population of elephants in Thailand has been steadily decreasing due to poaching, human development, mistreatment, etc.  Elephants have historically been considered sacred animals in Thailand so their population is now strictly protected by the Thai Government such that every existing domestic elephant in Thailand is implanted with a microchip and monitored throughout its lifetime.

Patara’s #1 mission is to combat the declining numbers of elephants in Thailand through a breeding program and to develop a safe tourism model.  Patara also adopts/rescues elephants from unsuitable living conditions such as circuses and illegal logging camps.  They have even successfully reintroduced 8 elephants into their natural habitat.

Patara’s #2 mission is to optimize the longevity and quality of life of the elephants through proper elephant care.  This includes the prevention of malnutrition, skin infections, and mental issues.

The family that runs the farm stressed to us that no one truly ‘owns’ an elephant, but rather humans may share the responsibility of caring for elephants.  Each elephant at Patara has its own caregiver, or keeper – also known as ‘Mahout’.  They take on the tough job of feeding, exercising, bathing, and providing daily health checks for their individual elephants; just like we were able to do today!

We had such an amazing time today learning about elephants and making new elephant friends!  And as an added bonus, we were able to coordinate our day to meet up with Justin Lui (our Western Physio classmate), his brother Jonathan (Queen’s Physio grad), and their friend Boris (U of T Physio grad) which made our awesome elephant experience even better (and PT-packed)! 🙂

Just Another Day on the Elephant Farm…

Amanda & Adam

5 thoughts on “Elephant ‘Owner’ For A Day

  1. Wow! What an experience. Not sure about the “poop” inspection but I guess is a necessary part of caring for these amazing beasts. Thanks for sharing this experience…..a true science lesson!

    Sorry I missed your call today.
    Love Dad T.

  2. We learned as much about elephants on your blog as we do on the OASIS channel with Bell Satellite. What an adventure the two of you are on!!

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