Thursday, 25 July 2013

Elephant Valley Project (Cambodia)

on July 3rd we crossed the border to Cambodia, it was a real disappointing experience. All over the region the "slash and burn" more rainforest again. the old big trees are existing not any more. now only monoculturing,  with coutchouc plantations. it is so sad ! 

Well, cycled to Stung Treng, then further to Kratie. a little bit along the Mekong, but nothing special. 

When we arrived in Kratie, a small nasty and dirty city, we decided to take a bus to Sen Monorom, where we wanted to visit the Elephant Valley ( Jack Highwood , a British man, runs this project. He had a mahout-education in Thailand and he wants to protect these amazing animals in Cambodia. Many elephants are used for logging or other heavy work and the owners are usually poor families. So you can imagine the status of the elephants: hard working, bad food, owner has no money for medical support. no good combination !  in the valley the elephants can recover and Jack supports the owners, while their elephant is in the sanctuary. Or he buys the elephants. In a big  areal the elephants can be in their original enviroment. As they were separated as a baby from their mother, they did not learn how an elephant behaves. Now they learn how to take a bath, how to throw mud on their back, protecting them from flies or to harvest trees to get their own food. 
As a visitor you pay 60 USD for a one-day visit. it is a lot of money (average income per year 630 USD!) , but Jack informs you exactly for what the money is used for. The whole day we walked around with these beautiful giants and we enjoyed every minute. We helped to wash them and sometimes they were very snoopy and came very closed to us. Wow, what an experience ! we were very glad that we had the possibility to visit and support this project !

Taka, volunteer from Japan, was our guide. good job !!

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