Feeding Elephants in Thailand




 Image: Logan Nolin

Image: Logan Nolin


I left Hostel by Bed early in the morning for the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary tour. I was picked up in a truck and we spent the first half hour driving around Chiang Mai and picking up people at various hostels and hotels.

The truck ride was beautiful. We wove through the mountains until we finally arrived. We were told to put on some colorful karen shirts. These smelled awful, but the elephants recognize the patterns as someone that has food.

We made our way down to the feeding area and were told not to be alarmed when the elephants arrived. We loaded up our shirts with small bananas and sugar cane when suddenly a herd of elephants starts literally sprinting toward us while trumpeting their trunks.

I’m not going to lie, seeing an animal that could easily crush you sprint your direction at maximum speed is a little alarming. A girl in my group turned into me and literally clutched me for dear life. We had a good laugh a few seconds later as, once the elephants were near us, they just stood around and chilled — feeling around our bodies for any bits of food they could find.

We were warned to be mindful of our cameras and phones, because they would easily snatch them from you and try to eat it.

There were two baby elephants in the herd and we were told to peel the tiny bananas because the peels were to hard for them to chew.

After filling them up with bananas and sugar cane, we led them down to a mud pit where they rolled around and covered themselves in mud. Luckily, we were by a small river. After they were sufficiently caked in mud, we led them to the river to wash off.



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