Elephants are kept and used for work in Asia since thousands of years. All that time, they were not bread in captivity, they were caught, if needed. The attempt to breed them is a fairly recent developement. Nowadays, many working elephants can't be employed in the logging industry anymore. So they need a different job, as keeping an elephant costs money which now can be made with tourism. As long as elephant tours take place in a shady environment, they are regarded as protective for the individual elephants, their keepers and the suitable environment, that would have to deliver the next generation.
When we arrived after breakfast, the elephants just finished munching their own breakfast of sugar cane next to a little creek. The one that took Jo and me for the ride even took one along the road as a kind of "chewing cane"...
For the middle of the track a swimming break was announced. In fact, the break seemed to be most of all for the elephants to relax from their backpack. I had taken my sandals off, as I did not want to touch the elephant's skin with hard soles. When stepping down from the elephant, one fell down on the ground. Before I could get down between the elephants legs (which probably would have been a really bad idea) one of the guides had spotted the event and let his elephant pick it up.
Looks like even the trunk needs a rest sometimes...
Jo and Ina (picture taken at the start)
The swimming was certainly good, but one shouldn't expect too much. The water on the picture is pretty much all there was.
After the break, we went back on the same track. When we arrived a little shop was open, where banana bunches were sold for small money. A good idea to have happy tourists and a little saving on the food bill of the elephant. I bought two of them: one for the one that carried me, another one for the elephant that picked up the sandal...
© 3 pictures Sue Reid
Home Going to Khao Sok In the River Huts In the Morning Mist Rafflesia The elephant ride To the lake Into the cave Home across Cheow Lan lake along the trails by Emma by Liz mail