By Sonny DePasquale – 1 week volunteer
Like most tourists visiting Thailand, interacting with Asian elephants was at the top of my to-do list. For some, it can even be the sole purpose for travelling to the country. While researching different facilities that offer such an experience, it became apparent that not all may be in favour of the animals. Fortunately, I found Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary – a program that included a cultural experience along with an ethical approach to interacting with these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
The week that I spent in their Karen village was even more valuable than I expected. It showed me first-hand how the forest benefits the elephants, and how tourists can truly make a positive impact on their lives. What impressed me most was to see the organization’s contribution to the science community – data on foraging habits in their natural environment is being recorded daily; information that has been difficult to explore thoroughly in wild Asian elephants.
Each of the four elephants were equally breathtaking and mesmerizing to interact with. This photo of Boon Rott and me is one I’ll cherish forever. He happens to be quite the gregarious animal with a personality as large as himself, and I’ll never forget this experience.