This is a great sanctuary that has taken in animals that need care. They do have some of them perform small shows but they are caringly done and the animals are well looked after and also get free time. They do the shows to raise needed money.
We signed up for the mahout experience and we were able to spend a few hours visiting and helping are for the elephants. We helped feed vitamins to them inside their fruit and veg and then we took the baby for a walk and helped wash him later. It was so amazing to wander around in the fields with the little one loose – no ropes or anything. The volunteers who run this segment are a British couple who retired there. Great people and it made for a memorable day.
At the beginning of the day, the mahout who looks after the baby elephant comes to work and first goes into the temple to pray. The baby was always following him and so just went along too but what was amazing is that the little elephant started copying the mahout by bowing down and lying in front of the shrines. No one taught him to do this and he simply copied his mahout’s behavior. He got a bit big to fit through the door so the sanctuary remodeled and made the entrance bigger so he can continue. It’s amazing and very peaceful to watch this young elephant potter around the temple with his care giver and copy him in prayer.
There are some elephant “sanctuaries” and shows in Thailand that are less than stellar with elephants not well treated. You have to research them well. Sad situation too for those giving tourist rides in Bangkok in the center of the city. They have to walk most of the night to get to the center where they work before plodding hours back out in the evening. The elephants are not allowed to be housed inside the city so need to travel a long way every day. Their feet get very sore and blistered from hot roads and constant walking. One of those elephants is happily at Hutsadin now.