Sunday, May 22, 2011
Field Trip (Deer Park & Elephant Sanctuary)
Our next stop was the Kuala Gandah Elephant sanctuary that was maybe a 20 minute drive from the deer park. When we got there we went into this large room that had signs with different educational explanation about elephants and a large elephant skull in the middle of the room. We the next showing started then we went into the film room and watch a 40 minute film on the displaced elephants of Malaysia. These elephants are being moved for their protection from people taking over their land and them causing the people problems. They showed how this team of men moved the elephants, how it is a dangerous process, and how they don't have enough money to track the elephants or do follow up on them. Many of the elephants are separated in this process because they can only move a few elephants at a time. It is also very stressful on the elephants and many of them die when they get to the Taman Negara rainforest. We then made a presentation of the donation that we were giving to the sanctuary. After that we went down to where the elephants are located. We watched them being bathed in the river. We were supposed to be able to participate in that but the water was up almost to the bank and they did not want people to get hurt when the elephants fall on their sides (when the water is high). When the water is low the elephants do not try to completely submerge themselves and so it is safer.
Then they were taken back to the stage area where people could feed them peanuts and they preformed some tricks. Two of the elephants and the same names as two of our students. After that people could feed them fruit. Once they had been fed they were led over to a place where people could get on them and take a ride. I took pictures of all our students riding the elephants. I wanted to ride but by the time I got done the students were leaving and they were putting the elephants away. It was a two minute ride around a circle, so it wasn't a huge loss. We all felt if would have been more fun to ride and then take a bath with them in the river. We were all prepared with extra clothes. After that those who rode the elephants showered and changed into clean clothes. While they were doing that I got an ice cream and bought a few souvenirs to send back to friends in the States. Then we got back on the buses and headed out. It seemed to take much longer on the way home then there. Most were tired and several of the students on the middle school bus slept. I was being goofy and was seat dancing to music. The students thought it was pretty funny. When we were entering the outskirts of town and were stopped at this light these people a few cars over were watching me. My students mentioned it so I turned and waved at the people and then waved back. When we got back to school the Director of Studies who had been at the back of the bus asked me if I knew those people and I said nope. Overall, it was a great day.