We LOVE Elephants, PERIOD. If humans had a soul animal, ours would be elephants.If we were wizards, our patronus would be an elephant & a dog. You get it right? We are smitten and enchanted by this glorious creature. So when we saw this activity of swimming and playing with the elephants, we had mixed feelings. We were torn with the excitement to meet these not-so-little friends but on the other hand, we were not sure if we were in fact promoting any sort of animal cruelty in the process.
After much thought, we decided to at least give it a try and see what is happening. So on our way from Krabi to Phuket, we gave them a call. The lady who picked up the call spoke fluent english and gave us a 9 AM slot the very next day. The activity costed us $74 in total, which includes pick up and drop, 20 minutes with the elephants as well as professional photographs. The next day, right on time we were picked up by 3 youngsters in an unmarked car. They told us that their bus broke down, hence they had to come in their own car. They are located at Tri Tang beach, a 25 minute drive from Patong. As soon as we reached a secluded part of the beach, we could see about 4-5 baby elephants feasting on bananas and sugar cane in a makeshift shelter made of palm tree leaves by the beach.
As we stepped onto the beach, two baby elephants were lead to the sea and before you know it, a jet stream of water hit us square on our faces. The play had begun. We refused to climb atop them but played with them, bathed them, fed them bananas by the dozen. 20 minutes went by so quickly that we stuck around to just watch them.
Now the question that kept popping in our mind’s were the whereabouts of their parents. They seemed to be looked after well.. but we were still fishing for information. We were told that the elephants were taken to their parents by evening. Though I would love to believe what they told us, somewhere in my mind I felt convinced there was more to it than what met the eye.
Keeping all that aside, I was devising a plan within 5 minutes into the activity of running away with them, saving them, reuniting them with their parents and visiting them every year thereafter with the happy reunions and the tearful farewells. With that Utopian imagination, I do belong in one of the Dreamwork movies. But a girl can dream, right? and what if it comes true one day. (Dreamwork officials at my doorstep guys!)
The most important question, Would we recommend this activity?
We wish we had clarity on their upkeep. Were they in fact rescued? Were they taken back to their parents every evening? Far from the eyes of the visitors, were they taken care as well? Most importantly, were they HAPPY? Sadly we do not have answers to any of these questions.
We only wish, hope and pray that they are loved and taken care off as they deserve to be. We would urge all those who love animals to donate to legit animal welfare causes and do our bit for them. They have long given up their right of existence on this planet. Lets make their lives a liveable one.