One of the most successful changes in the world of Thai tourism is the public’s wholehearted embrace of elephant conservation centers in Thailand. Today every major city in the country has a conservation center near it where both tourists and locals can visit and interact with elephants.
The elephants in these centers are happier and healthier than they were in tourist camps offering elephant trekking. More and more of these trekking camps are closing due to the public’s growing awareness of the harm elephants are subjected to when they’re ridden all day. And while this is encouraging, it poses another problem for elephant conservation centers in Thailand. Elephants require a lot of food and space to exist.
Finding Enough Resources
Running these conservation centers is an endless task of finding enough to keep the elephants healthy. Adult elephants consume an average of 150 kilograms of fresh grasses, vegetables, fruit, leaves, and bark every day. A lot of these conservation centers cover up to one or more square kilometers.
This is enough room to provide comfortable living conditions for the elephants, but not enough to provide for their food needs. There is a continuous chore of trucking in food for the elephants from surrounding farms, orchards, and forests.
In setting up an elephant conservation center in Thailand, managers typically are looking for vacant land along a river. Elephants consume huge amounts of water and like to spend hours bathing and playing in the water as well. Finding land along a river takes care of providing enough water.
They also want to find land that is off the beaten track but close enough to cities to attract tourists. The further away from the city, the cheaper the land is, and the more peaceful the elephants will be.
Providing Medical Care
The other big expenditure is elephant medical care. Most of the elephants being donated to elephant conservation centers in Thailand are older elephants or ones that have been injured in their former lives of logging or providing rides to tourists.
Some of these elephants also arrive at the centers severely malnourished and needing supplements and medication to restore their health and well-being.
Support Elephant Conservation
All these food chores and medical care requires dedicated workers, and the workers have to earn a living. You can support the effort to improve the lives of Thailand’s elephants by visiting these conservation centers on your next holiday.
Simply get in touch with an elephant conservation center in Thailand near your holiday destination and book a visit. Most of them are set up to provide half-day visits to groups of tourists. It’s a great family-friendly experience to interact, play with and feed these gentle giants.
Many of these centers have photographers on hand, and they can provide you with candid shots of your family interacting with the elephants. You can also buy merchandise that helps support the center and reminds you of your day with the elephants.