This is Mae Kham Puan. Her cloudy, milky blind eye depicts the great physical and emotional pain she has experienced. As punishment for not doing what the owner wanted her to do, the human used a slingshot to launch a rock into her eye. And they didn’t do it just in her left eye – they did it in both and she is now blind in both eyes. I took this photo at Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai where I volunteered – it reveals the truth, the hidden tragedy of elephant exploitation in Thailand.

Owners get their elephants to obey, undertake circus tricks, and have people ride on their backs through brutal violence. First the phajaan to break their spirit (video of phajaan, not for the faint hearted:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAinaDnPPO0&feature=player_embedded) and then with constant aggression to maintain the power.

Elephants are an endangered species, Thailand’s symbol, and very intelligent creatures. 

Tourists cause the problem. Education is the key. 

Please find out more and share this knowledge, and when travelling to Thailand, don’t ride on an elephant’s back (their back is the most delicate part of their body) or watch them painting, instead why not go to a sanctuary like Elephant Nature Park and bond with these incredible creatures on a deeper level!

Above: Medo’s hips and leg broke when she was in the logging industry. She didn’t receive medical attention and so now this is her natural stance pictured above. We should be treating elephants with so much more respect. 


  1. jescasy

    This post is absolutely heartbreaking and eye-opening. It must have been an amazing experience for you to work with these magnificent animals. It seems like a very hard job, but I’m sure the opportunity to work with and learn from the elephants is truly incredible. I can’t believe the incredibly inhumane things these creatures have to endure. It’s completely maddening! I watched the video you linked and I could barely finish it. Seeing how the elephants are treated was so painful to watch. Thank you for your experience with the elephants in the Chang Mai Elephant Nature Park with us.


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