Saving the Elephants

Students made their way to Elephant Valley on Saturday for a full day of feeding, working… and dung!

Everyone broke into groups of three to learn about the main objectives of the sanctuary before being put to work for the afternoon. Both historically and to this day, elephants have been tamed for human entertainment and this is something the sanctuary aims to correct. In doing so, this sanctuary aims at rehabilitating the animals who have forgotten the traditional behaviours of living in the wild.

Staff and students were then taken on a tour of the sanctuary to become familiar with the elephants. We learned how the elephants made their way there along with their names and background. Some were sadly abused in the circus before coming to the sanctuary while others were used for trekking hikes and kept in camps. As a means of bringing them back to their true elephant essence, we could only observe the elephants from a distance while still being able to come within 15-meters.

We were then served an array of sticky rice varieties for lunch with sweet and sour vegetables, tofu egg soup, and many other yummy dishes. After a delicious meal, we grouped off to undertake the main duties of the afternoon. Some of us had to chop down banana trees as elephant food while the other groups put nutrients and vitamins into the bananas. We learned that the elephants don’t like taking their daily vitamins, so we had to trick the friendly giants by packing it in their snacks.

Cidel had this to share about her day at the elephant sanctuary:

“They gave us four bananas each to feed the elephants when we got there. We then mixed the poop and the mud together while the elephants were having a shower. Seeing the elephants was very cool and such a unique experience because many of us have never seen elephants before. It was also really great to see ethical causes working to create change right before your eyes.”

Where some took care of the “cleaner” tasks, others were sent to work with elephant dung! The massive piles of dung were mixed with water to create a paste which students smeared on the trees to prevent the elephants from eating. As it turns out, elephants clearly have high standards. Students worked high and low to cover the trees with their newly compounded dung only to have a small piece fall from the top of the bark and land on poor Josie’s forehead… yikes!

Yours among the dung,
Nic