Our day started with feeding the elephants by hand which was a great way to get to know them. They were gentle and giant! All of the elephants have been abused by their former owners and some have very visible signs of their trauma. One elephant was completely blind (having been deliberately blinded as punishment by her previous keeper). Another had recovered from a broken leg, but had suffered permanent damage.
We had very pleasant lunch which was a vegetarian buffet vastly superior to the hotel we had stayed in a few days ago!
After feeding time, we took the elephants down to the riverside for a good clean. This involved throwing bucket after bucket of water over the elephants. There was a little bit more feeding too to encourage the less enthusiastic elephants to bathe!
Immediately after bathing the elephants recovered themselves in mud. This was described as "elephant sunblock"!
Next we watched a documentary in the on-site conference centre which showed the plight of the elephants and told some of the heart-breaking stories of their lives prior to being rescued by the ENP.
Finally, we rounded off the day with a little more feeding just to say goodbye to our new big friends!
If ever you are in Chiangmai, you should most definitely visit the park and make some new friends!