I am feeling really cocky about an hour into our elephant ride until the elephant grabbed a big branch and brought it down crashing toward me. An average elephant eats 600 pounds of food a day so they are constantly reaching out for leaves, branches, and grasses since they are vegetarian.
The elephant I am riding, Bounma, was originally used in the logging industry to transport teak. Logging was banned in Thailand in 1989 because of the deforestation occurring through out the country. She was savagely beaten and still has scars on her head and ears (her ear was actually broken).
When the timber ban went into effect all the elephants lost their jobs. Many of the owners resorted to taking them to big cities like Bangkok where they would perform for food. And as we already know, they eat a lot of food a day so this was not a good situation for anyone.
Bounma was rescued along with her mahout, her trainer, and lives at The Four Seasons elephant camp today where she gets lots of love and treats including cucumbers, bananas and sugar cane. I am so privileged to have ridden this beautiful animal. She helped me fall in love, with life.