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Elephant Nature Park in Thailand
Elephant Nature Park in Thailand
History of Thai Elephants
Though Thai elephants are highly admired throughout the country and in Thai history, the threat against these elephants comes directly from those who most value them, the human explicators. Poaching for ivory, elephant calves, illegal logging and roaming city streets for money are just some of the few threats the elephants face. Elephant Nature Park sees this these growing threats and works against them to help restore the health, well-being, safety, and environment for the elephants of its country, Thailand .
Elephant Nature Park
Elephant Nature Park is a rescue and rehabilitation center located in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand that helps to protect and conserve the beautiful elephant species. With over 250 acres of land, the current 37 Asian elephants can roam the park freely. The park lays in a natural valley and is bordered by the Ping River and mountains serving as a protective border for the elephants. The center has provided help in many rescues, allowing the parks elephant herd to grow abundantly. Aside from elephants, the park provides a comfortable living environment for dogs, cats, buffaloes and many other animals.
Who Started Elephant Nature Park?
The founder of Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation, Sanguden "Lek" Chailert, was born in Baan Lao, Northern Thailand in 1962. It is because of her close relationship with her grandfather, who was a tribal forest man and traditional healer, that she became close companions with elephants early on in her childhood.
Once receiving her Bachelor of Arts from Chiang Mai University, Chailert began the Elephant Heaven Nature Park in 1996, with hopes that a sanctuary for elephants would provide a peaceful living environment. It closed in 2003, and the Elephant Nature Park opened.  
There is a great emphasis on the rescue and conservation for the elephants. Opposed to shows and training, the park focuses on the sustainability and preservation programs that will help local culture, common sense, and a deep conviction in the preservation of the area.
There are five main goals at the Elephant Nature Park. 
- Sanctuary for endangered species: They provide for these animals as well as contributing to their welfare and development.
- Rain Forest Restoration: The ecological balance of some plants and animals are encouraged by the re-introduction of the rainforest. One of the parks developments is the program of tree planting the park’s surrounding area. Twenty-five acres of land will be used for the re-introduction.
- Culture Preservation: To maintain the cultural integrity of the local community, creating employment and purchasing agricultural products locally is helping to assist villagers in sustaining their distinct culture.
- Visitors Education: To educate visitors, individuals, study groups, schools and interested parties, an emphasis on the plight of endangered local species is presented in a constructive and entertaining way. Future phases will include audio/visual equipment and other modern educational aids. Small conferences and workshops are organized at the park as well.
- Act independently: Act independently of pressure groups and political movements that we consider contrary to the well being of the park and the creatures in its care.
What is special about the center is that it thrives off of the help off volunteers. Without the help of volunteers, the park would lack the extra help and fall short of its mission and goal. The park provides school, college and group visits , full day visits at an elephant camp neighboring the park , single day visits at the Elephant Nature Park from 8:00am to 5:00pm, overnight visits where guests are accommodated in traditional bamboo huts , and weekly and student vet volunteers for projects such as the Dog Rescue Project , Journey to Freedom , Erawan Elephant Retirement Park which lasts one to four weeks, Surin Project which can last up to eight weeks,  and Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia, one to eight weeks .