Unadapted to living in the wild some were simply released and then roamed the Thai city streets or villages scavaging for food.
Others were more lucky. They were adopted by one of the many elephant sanctuaries that sprang up to look after these amazing creatures.
However feeding an elephant is an expensive business (they typically feed for 16 - 17 hours a day consuming upward of 250kg of food). So sanctuaries need to offer ethical tourism - you pay to get in and then get to help feed and wash the elephants. And your entrance fee gets to go towards nelly’s upkeep. No riding, no tricks, just food, watering, washing, education and protection. Seems like a good solution.
So today we found ourselves at such a place. Elephant Hills. Elephant visits are limited to 75 mins (feeding, bathing, the odd selfie) and then the elephants go off to laugh at the tourists and the tourists feel they have done their bit.
They offer lots of other experiences too at Elephant Hills (boat rides, lake tents, jungle hiking) but today was all about the jumbos.
Glad we came. Good to see these gentle giants getting some sort of after-care. A sort of elephant retirement home.