Visiting Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre at Lanchang, Pahang last month was a great opportunity for my family and I to learn more about elephants as well as to meet and greet them up-close and personal. Reaching the place around 12.30pm, I went in the reception area with my son to find out more information about the place while my husband takes a quick nap.
National Elephant Conservation Centre is a base for Elephant Relocation Team dedicated to locating, subduing and then trans-locating problem elephants from areas where their habitats are constantly being encroached by plantations, to other suitable habitats throughout Peninsular, including Taman Negara National Park.
We found out that admission is free and in order to get in the sanctuary, we need to register; full name, IC, address and phone number. Later we were given sticker passes to stick on our shirts. By having done all that, we’re free to visit the sanctuary already but activities with elephants only starts at 2pm, so we use the extra time to visit the exhibition near the reception area to learn more about elephants.
At around 1pm, we went into the area where the elephants are. Although activities have not started yet, visitors can go in and see and feed the elephants.
Here is Yassin feeding an elephant with sugarcane.
Some of the elephants here were found injured in the jungle of Malaysia while some were brought in from Thailand and Myanmar under the trans-location program to ensure their well-being and continued survival.
The Peninsular Malaysian elephants (Asian elephants) are listed as critically endangered species as there are only 1,200 wild elephants existed in Peninsular Malaysia. Protecting these elephants help safeguard thousands of other species within its habitat. The elephant creates vital natural pathways by knocking over trees, allowing smaller species to feed, as well as dispersing plant seeds in its dung. However, due to habitat loss, elephants are forced to hunt for food in convert areas surrounding forest such as plantations, where they raid crops on a massive scale. This is why the trans-location team has such a dire responsibility to move these elephants, to prevent them from otherwise being shot by farmers, or simply dying of starvation.
The activities kicked off at 2pm with an introduction of 6 elephants. These elephants are highly intelligent and delightful – each one has a different character, personality and temperament. All of them showed off a bit of their talents.
An elephant saying thank you.
Later, we got to interact with elephants by touching and feeding them. Yassin was so happy to be able to do that.
After the feeding session, all visitors were allowed to ride naturally on the elephants; without seating basket and all. The queue was quite long…we waited almost an hour.
Yassin with Ali and Uncle Helmy. Whaddaya know; of all the places, we bumped into them here at the sanctuary. Ali loves elephant.
Last activity of the day was bathing with elephants! Everybody; young ones and old alike, were very much excited. Yassin and Ali was having a blast washing the elephant. I did not join the the fun as I like being dry and just take photos. My husband joined in to take closer pictures in the river.
The bathing activity ended around 5pm and just before we could get to our car, rain fell down. So, my clothing was wet in other way. Ah well, hujan rahmat. Been quite a while since I last got soaked in a rain.
Here’s a video to sum it all up: