A day at the elephant sanctuary

During the time I spent in Malaysia I visited an elephant sanctuary in Kuala Gandah with my family. During the visit we were allowed to feed the elephants papaya and bamboo and it was truly wonderful to see such beautiful and intelligent animals in real life. Another highlight was to watch the elephants take a bathe and being cleaned by the keepers in one of the nearby rivers. This process is important because the river water helps their body temperature to cool down, which is important considering the Malayan climate. As for the feeding part, we were allowed to touch the elephants trunks and I will never forget how incredible it felt to be so close to them. Note that this sanctuary is not a zoo and to minimize stress the actual activity with the visitors is limited from 2.15pm-3.30pm, so if you are planning on visiting, do not expect elephant riding or drawing because this place focuses on what's best for the elephants.

We did not have to pay to get into the sanctuary but rather make a donation (you choose amount of money yourself). Something that I loved about this place was that it focused on the animals welfare and educating people about elephants and why it is important that some of them are being translocated. For instance, I learned that the palm oil industry is very big in Malaysia and all the big palm plantations are forcing the elephants to leave their homes, and if an elephant do enter one of the plantations it is most likely to be shot. Therefore, this sanctuary does not only take care injured and orphaned elephants, but it is also a stop along the way for elephants that are being translocated to safety (like a national park, where they are not disturbed by humans).  

To conclude: it was a day that I will never forget. 

-Martine

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