Thailand, Travel

Mae Taeng Elephant Park & Clinic: The Elephant Show

July 10, 2012
 “It all
started on June 5th 1996 when we opened the doors of our elephant park for the
first time. Back then it was just a simple welcome sign, a few members of staff
and even less elephants. Little did we know when we embarked on that journey,
just what a rewarding and uplifting experience it would be.
~The
Chailert Family

Elephant
show times as shown: 9am, 10am, 11am and 1pm. 


Just in
time for the elephant show at Mae Taeng Elephant Park & Clinic.

As seen,
these guys at the back of elephants are called Mahouts.
Origin of Mahout
Around
700 years ago, Mahouts are royal warriors who serve the Khmer Empire based at
Angkor Wat. Using their expertise in capture and training of wild elephants, they
formed elite battalions, wield their elephants, and rode into battle. It is
said that Mahouts were originated from Cambodia, thus all the elephant commands
that have been passed on until now is a combination of a combination of ancient
Khmer and Kuay, both Cambodian languages.
A Mahout
usually starts at a young age, as a boy, when he is assigned an elephant early
in its life.  Since then, they will be
attached to each other until the end of the elephant’s life. In order to gain
the elephant’s trust and respect, a Mahout has to work everyday, giving them necessary
commands. As the times go by, the relation between a Mahout and his elephant is
no longer trainer and keeper, but to be considered as family member and close
friend that can be counted upon.
In
modern days, however, the expenses on maintenance of elephant are very high, so
high that domestic Mahouts and their elephants are generally poor and had to
work hard for a living. They have to search for opportunities in the cities,
selling elephant rides, photos, or even a basket of food for tourist to feed
them.

If you
would like to experience the life of the Mahout, there are Mahout courses
that you can go for just a few days. Kindly visit Mahout Lodge

While Mahout feed bananas to the elephant, he was showing us
the trunk.
Mahouts and elephants posing together for the Elephant Show.
Elephants are showing their ability on painting with little
commands from Mahouts. To be exact, they are actually tracing back over their
original brush stroke, the ability to repeat the same painting.
Painting from Suda (the elephant behind), sold for 800 Baht.
I can’t even paint as nice! Lol.
Elephant can also play football? No kidding!
After the elephant show, you can also bring home some of
these lovely namecards, made from elephant dung. I know it sounds gross, but
turning elephant dungs into products certainly helps the environment.
How? 
Have you ever wonder how they dispose the elephant dung
in the usual way?  
Before this, elephant
dung was disposed by burning, which its emitted smoke has led to health hazard
and pollution problem.  At Mae Taeng
Elephant Park, they are now fully recycling the dung, and proud of being green.
If you are interested in the process of elephant dung
recycling, please refer to this web.