"This was a genuine opportunity for me to not only learn about the Asian elephant in Thailand, but a real chance to see the relationships between elephants, people, and the industry produced by their combination. For 9 days, I shadowed the park's veterinarian and was able to get first-hand accounts of basic health care for elephants that spend a fraction of their day performing and giving rides to tourists. While this was certainly interesting for an Animal Science major, I was also pleased to have the privilege of visiting any part of the park to learn more about the operation itself. While most staff members did not speak fluent English, I felt everyone was friendly and willing to share what they could with me. It is the kind of place you volunteer at to create your own opinion of these amazing creatures and the people that coexist with them, as opposed to being bottle-fed notions of what's "right" and "wrong" in either life. Nothing is skewed and it's quite refreshing to live this honest lifestyle with the people that have chosen to do it as a career."
As soon as I got back into my routine after my wonderful holiday to Chiang Mai and Japan, I am now preparing to go back to the States for my Christmas holiday! I did a lot of shopping while at the park so everyone will be getting their goodies for Christmas :)
How is the camp doing? Please tell everyone I said hello and they're still in my thoughts. I have posted my pictures of the camp on Facebook. I'm not sure if you want them, but if you're interested in looking through them, I'd be more than glad to send them to you.
Also, a co-worker of mine sent me this blog post. It was exciting to read it and thought you guys would enjoy it!
I will be more in contact with you near the end of my semester (around March) as I start planning my summer holiday time. I'll check in with you guys now and then to make sure everyone is doing ok! Merry Christmas!
Mea Taeng Elephant Park resident vet Pakkanut Bansiddhi and volunteer Ashley Higgins