Ian & Donna were my first American tour participants and I couldn’t resist sharing their romantic background story.
They met at a Starbucks coffee-house… Ian was an expert in the Starbucks system as he studied there using their wifi and naturally had tried many of their products…Donna was a novice in desperate need of a caffeine fix. Ian walked Donna through her first Starbucks experience and the rest, as they say, is history.
On that first meeting, Donna was wearing a t-shirt with an elephant motif. Attention to detail is one of Ian’s strengths and he soon realised almost all her t-shirts featured elephants. When the time came to ‘pop the question’ Ian knew he wanted a unique ring to commemorate the occasion and sourced a wonderful double-headed elephant design that Donna would not be able to resist. Ian then set about finding his “trip of a life-time” and cemented his offer to Donna by booking a pre-honeymoon holiday with www.elephant-encounters.com so that Donna could experience her first hands-on contact with elephants. Irresistable!!
I wish them every happiness together.
In August, I added two new National Parks to my travel itinerary and what a wonderful discovery they were!
Kui Buri is beautifully managed with visitors only able to access the Park for 4 hours of the day, always accompanied by a ranger and with the added security of footbaths on access and departure.
Along with my eight guests, I saw many elephants…families with calves, solitary bulls (both tusked and tuskless) and interesting interaction between bulls and families. Matriachs led their groups to and from waterholes and gathered calves to prevent clashes with bulls intent on accessing fertile cows within the groups.
We witnessed waterplay, dust-bathing and feeding.
Apparently, there are approximately 237 elephants in the Park with an estimated carrying capacity of 400. The human-elephant conflict on the Park borders is minimal and with no known poaching for the past few years, the outlook for these wild elephants looks good.
We even had the added bonus of spotting Gaur!
It was an absolute pleasure to bring in some tourism dollars to support the rangers and help secure a sustainable future for elephants in Thailand. This National Park will definitely be in my itinerary for July 2017!
Elephants are the backbone of Thailand. They have worked in partnership with people for over 4000 years and are now threatened with extinction due to environmental pressures and cultural change.
In 2006 I met Loong Sap – a “retired” elephant who changed my life… I’m sure she was a teacher in her earlier life!
Loong Sap and I were together only ten days and in that short time she made me feel very much at home around her… letting me know her favourite foods…the times of day she preferred to swim…that she didn’t like getting her head wet…and that she enjoyed my company. In fact Loong Sap would be looking after me while letting me feel I was looking after her!
It was very hard to leave her and her friends so I formed elephant-encounters to give me the perfect excuse to visit her and introduce others to the world of Thai elephants and the complexities of conservation. Together, our tours help finance conservation and I get to indulge and share my passion for adventure, animals and the environment.
On my tours, you will see all sides of elephant conservation in Thailand – from the joys of caring for your own elephant in a working elephant village, to exploration of National Parks and Sanctuaries in the company of elephant experts dedicated to finding ways for people to live in harmony with these huge neighbours.
With your involvement, we’ll help to provide a sustainable future for this magnificent intelligent species.