San Diego zoo’s elephant care facility

The basics of life are food, water and shelter. Everything else is a bonus. In the animal care world we call that Enrichment – used to  improve the quality of life; providing stimulation of some kind perhaps physical, mental and/or social.  

 On Saturday, Jane (a dedicated elephant keeper) showed me a very impressive structure in San Diego’s Elephant paddock providing all that! 

The ‘Tree’ has rough concrete sides for the elephants to rub against (exfoliation is top priority for pachyderms), there are mesh cages in the sides where hay and other food can be inserted. On top you can see there’s shade. There’s also winches on timers so that hay bags etc can be filled early in the day and timed to drop down at intervals for perhaps 15 minutes at a time. Fabulous…encouraging elephants to think, plan and move around to get their food!



Alpacas don’t go for the Jugular!

We’re staying next door to an Alpaca Stud at the moment. Most of the males are housed separately from each other to avoid fights. Fighting can involve ‘necking’ but can escalate to trying to bite off the testicles of the opponent! 


Elephant Encounters – August, 2015 newsletter

WorldelephantdayIt’s World Elephant Day today – 12 August!

A day when all people and organisations around the world come together and unite to help save this incredible species from extinction…a newsletter seems fitting!

National Elephant Day in March was a highlight of our visit to Elephantstay.


Each elephant had its own celebratory table of delicious treats, seen here being carefully arranged by Merri and Lyn. School groups, families, monks and local dignitaries joined us to celebrate the unique place elephants hold in Thailand’s history and culture.


Elephantstay provides safe homes and incomes for many elephants and their breeding program to fight extinction is the most successful I’ve heard of. Barb enjoyed her chance to meet the latest newborn sleeping peacefully with her mother.

Awareness-raising and education are the keys to fighting extinction and social justice 


Highlights from this year’s visits to Khao Yai National Park have been very varied indeed. We’ve explored the area’s beautiful cloud forest, listened to gibbon songs, observed troupes of pig-tailed macacques, sighted Samba and Barking deer, Hornbills, Serows, micro bats and a huge variety of insect life. Our groups have joined in teaching sessions with children from International Schools and supported blind children from Thailand’s Orchestra for the Blind while they enjoyed swimming and even diving lessons.


Alongkot Chukaew continues to draw passionate people together intent on making
a better future for Thailand’s people and wildlife.



Snorkeling in Krabi at the end of our July trip was wonderful – great company, clear warm water and so many fish!

Diary dates


  • Early October: Neil and Matt will be in Melbourne. If you’re keen to catch up with these dedicated Elephantstayers let me know!
  • 8 November – pre Christmas fundraiser. Details TBC
  • March 5 -21 Next trip to Thailand – filling fast so please register your interest asap

Warm regards Jenny Dickens m 0400 594 773

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