Joey and I were recently up at the Golden Triangle for a stay at our home there, The Four Seasons Tented Camp. Apart from being our physical home in The Golden Triangle all of our friends there ensure that we feel at home there. We had the opportunity to play some elephant polo but before we come to that I wanted to touch on a couple of wonderful things going on in that part of the world. I had the opportunity to have breakfast with Joshua Plotnik, Ph.D to discuss his elephant behavioral studies program. Josh is perhaps the only, if not most capable, elephant behavioral scientist on the planet. One of his more interesting current studies is the study of the likes and dislikes of elephant olfactory senses. If that puzzles you, scent would be the most effective and least intrusive means to keep elephants contained in a natural habitat without having them cause damage to neighboring farmers in the area.
Josh is also deep into Thai education. We kicked around some ideas for our adopted school in Moo Baan Chang, the elephant village near Buri Ram. This village is home to 200 elephants whose owners have great difficulty supporting them. The concept here is to have English language and fiscal responsibility instruction to the children in order to create a self-sustainable eco-tourism support base for the village. Occasional tourists come for a look but none of the funds stay in the village. In addition, we would like to expose the children that there is a world outside of breeding elephants when there is nothing for them to do.
Josh and I share many views but one, in particular, is that Khun Khan the Mahout and owner of Pepsi (shown in the picture to the right) is one of the best mahouts we have ever seen. He is the new generation of my old friend Lung Ham. Check out Josh's work at www.thinkelephants.org
- Ed -