Getting Up Close And Personal With Elephants

Getting Up Close And Personal With Elephants

A trip to Kuala Gandah’s National Elephant Conservation Centre was truly an eye opening experience. We partnered with Doodle Trip and got the opportunity to spend a day with the elephants through a voluntary program, learn more about them and bathe the baby elephant!The voluntary program started as early as 8am, which involved cleaning, scrubbing and hosing them down, preparing their food and feeding them. Being a part of the voluntary program also meant getting up close and personal with each rescued elephant. We learnt that the name of the elephant represented the place they were found.

As we strip the elephants off of their natural habitat due to deforestation for new plantations and development, the elephants have no choice but to flee, which would result in them terrorising crops and villages. The elephants would then have to be transported to another forest or rescued to the conservation centre where they would be cared for, treated if needed and protected.

The process of transporting these elephants is a dangerous task and involves a lot of manpower, proper skills and technique. Despite being known as gentle giants, an elephant in the wild when disturbed could kill a man. To ensure a smoother process, the team is aided by a former rescued elephant from the centre that serves as comfort to the newly rescued elephant in the wild.Aside from learning about their background during the voluntary program, we also learnt a lot about their behaviour. Gentle giants with superb memory is probably the most common attribute when it comes to describing elephants but let’s not forget just how incredibly smart they are. We got to witness it first hand as we saw how an elephant unlocked a latch simply by watching how humans did it.

The conservation centre was vast with plenty of space for the elephants to roam around during their morning exercise and the presence of a river made bathing them easy. Non-volunteers are more than welcomed to visit the centre to learn about the elephants during a special showcase or by visiting the exhibition centre and like us, also get the opportunity to bathe the baby elephant in the river, which pretty much just involved a whole lot of splashing!If you are against using elephants as rides for commercial use or as performance animals, good on you! We applaud you for that mindset because one can only imagine what the elephants would have had to endure to comply with humans’ entertainment needs.

You may also argue that the elephants should not even be held at the centre, instead roam free in the wild. Well, pay a visit or rather drop by (cos there isn’t an entrance fee) the Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre and get educated. We promise it will be a worthwhile experience.

Image Source: Jon Teo

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