Welcome to Thailand, a place booming with tourism. An exotic paradise that tourists from around the world flock to year-round. People, looking to escape the mundane and experience something they’ve never done before.  The main attraction? Riding the elephants.  Many Tourists, however, don’t realize the suffering these animals must endure to provide them with that “once in a lifetime” experience of riding on an elephant’s back.

On my recent visit the Chiang Mai Thailand, I discovered yet again how truly beautiful our world is.  Thailand is a beautiful place, full of amazing colors and wonderful people.  My visit included seeing my art teacher and refining my charcoal painting skills.  I brought my sister along for this journey and she enjoyed daily massages on the beach but more than that we were able to meet some majestic creatures that my friend Bobbi saved.  We visited an elephant sanctuary that saves these amazing animals.

The elephant is one of the most prehistoric creatures on the planet and the largest land animal alive today. There are 3 distinct types of elephants, the Loxodanta know as the African bush elephant, The L. Cyclotis - the African forest elephant and the Elephas maximus known as the Asian elephant. For many centuries, the elephant was celebrated as a God and worshiped by cultures around the world.  Particularly in Southeast Asia. The Asian elephant, the smallest of the elephant family weighing between 3000-6000kg used to have a very special bond with the people of this region. They were worshiped and revered fiercely. They roamed the land freely and lived alongside the people in harmony.  Slowly and sadly due to poverty and an effort to promote tourism, these living idols were dethroned and started being used cruelly for entertainment and extreme manual labor. And while many statues and artifacts still pay homage to these majestic creatures, in real life, the elephant has become a mere attraction in the growing tourism industry. The elephant is a very smart and intuitive creature. Joy, anger, grief, compassion, and love are all emotions that reside in these amazing animals. Scientists have found that elephants are capable of complex thought and deep feeling.  The emotional attachment that an elephant forms with family members may rival our own. They understand human body language and have empathy. Making it even more heart-wrenching that not only do they feel the physical pain of the daily torture they endure but also to know the emotional scars it leaves in these gentle giants.  Although they possess the strength and power to attack and defend themselves against the harsh treatment and abuse, they chose to remain docile and loving creatures.


During my visit, we discovered how we can help save these beautiful animals from a life of torture.  For more information on how you can help save the elephants of Chiang Mai, email rafi@dominoeffect.com.