Danny and Helen's Journey Home 2006 travel blog

Helen's elephant scares her by trying to eat her bag

A mother plays with her young elephant at the hospital

Helen and Danny first meet their elephants

Helen collects her elephant from the jungle in the morning and feeds...

I said sit!

Danny's elephant gets bored and has a rest

Supper at the huts

Check out the tusks on this one

Helen with Lookgae (her elephant) and Teet (her trainer)

Helen and Danny learn to wash their elephants

"How!" "Goy!" "Stop!" Helen's elephant ignores her commands as usual

"Faster, faster, come on elephant"

Danny realizes he is about to have a bath himself

Danny and his Mahout on his elephant

Helen's life time ambition is to become a Mahout. This is the name of those trained and certified to look after elephants. Mahouts are assigned to an elephant (usually for life) to look after, ensure he or she is fed enough and can live a generally healthy life.

Thailand has very few wild elephants and therefore there are no re-introduction programmes to the wild. The next best thing is the rescue programme which is run by the Lampang Elephant Hospital, where elephants are rescued from jobs in bangkok and other large towns where they are forced to sell peanuts to tourists or participate in humiliating shows in the smoggy cities. At the Elephant hospital, elephants are looked after by a constant troop of "do-gooder" toursist who take anything from 2 to 30 days sleeping and living elephant. Helen had told Danny "it will be great, you can add "Mahout" to your CV, you never know when you will need these skills again." They spent a few days looking after the elephants, who each night return to the semi wild and then return for more treatment and training the next day. While the elephants still form a partial tourist attraction, they are very well fed and lovingly tended, plus the tourists fund the Mahouts (and Helen's) good work.

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