Last week saw a particularly stunningly hike with the elephants into the forests surrounding Huay Pakoot village. In one of the first hikes through the corn fields after the slash and burn land management fires have been passed through and it allowed us a dramatically different view from what we had been hiking through only weeks before. What was once tall corn laden stalks dwarfing the valley below was now flat, blackened earth, still smoking from the fires, the charred soil ready to regenerate and spring into life with new planting. The hike was looking good from the first few steps. Following the elephants through the fields we were joined by a talkative group of excited villagers eager to explain that they were off to catch fish that are in abundance at the moment in a nearby stream.
Following the elephants further into the forest, the groups were all in fantastic spirits and when the elephants took off with speed down past the cliff face, the group needed no encouragement to trek after them to see what they were in such a hurry to get to. It was a beautiful sight as the forest path gave way to an open jungle-esque meadow that could have been a scene right from the jungle book. A beautiful lush green field surrounded by living walls of hanging ferns, vines and vibrant flowers. The elephants wasted no time. Using our perfect vantage point over this utopian elephant stage to sit and relax, observing our giant friends, content that thanks to our project, they were happy in their true home. The Community of Huay Pakoot is in the final stages of registering their elephant rescue committee with the local government, and shortly after this is complete, more elephants will be freed from working camps.
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