Members of Coldplay recently stopped by.
For animal lovers, finding travel experiences that provide ethical ways of interacting with animals poses a problem. Many of the activities that were once thought to be harmless fun can actually be harmful to the animals.
A new elephant sanctuary in Thailand might offer a solution.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a 30-acre park and the first shelter of its kind in the city that gives elephants that have worked in entertainment or other forms of labor the chance to retire. They can roam the grounds freely during the day and rest in large shelters at night, The Independent reported.
Several celebrities, including the band Coldplay and Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad,” have made visits to the park, drawn in by its ethical practices.
VISITOR FEATURE: AARON PAUL - HOLLYWOOD MOVIE STAR VISITS PHUKET ELEPHANT SANCTUARY We have been very busy rescuing our latest two elephants this week but we were also very privileged to welcome top Hollywood movie star Aaron Paul and his beautiful wife Lauren to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. Lauren was celebrating her 30th birthday, and along with their many fabulous friends who had all flown in from LA, Aaron had surprised Lauren with a beautiful holiday in Phuket. Aaron is best known for his role as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad, and many movies including Need for Speed, Fathers and Daughters, and his latest movie Come And Find Me. Aaron had researched ethical elephant tourism as Lauren absolutely loves elephants and only wanted to visit and support a true ethical elephant sanctuary. They spent the most wonderful morning with Kannika and Madee saying it was a dream come true to see happy elephants in their natural habitat. We are truly thankful to Aaron, Lauren and all their friends for supporting us and for placing a spotlight on ethical elephant tourism and our work to help the elephants here at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary in Southern Thailand. @glassofwhiskey #aaronpaul #laurenpaul8 #breakingbad #needforspeed #comeandfindme #jedidiahjenkins #lachrispaul #PhuketElephantSanctuary #PES #EthicalTourism #Phuket #Thailand #Elephants #ForTheLoveOfElephants #MadeeElephant #KannikaElephant
British philanthropist and fashion executive, Louise Rogerson, started the sanctuary in 2015 after volunteering for several years with elephant projects in Thailand, according to the sanctuary's website.
The first animals — including a 60-year-old female originally from a logging camp — arrived in August 2016, a according to The Phuket News. The sanctuary opened to visitors later that year.
“Elephants are emotional animals, they feel happiness, sadness and show love, and here we allow them to be themselves again, unafraid,” Rogerson told CNN. “What is lovely about what we're doing here is we have had children come and watch elephants playing in water and not riding them in a show. We need the next generation to understand the importance of compassion to animals.”
Elephant lovers can visit the park and get up close to the animals to feed them. There is no riding allowed, and the tours aim to educate people about the cruelty that elephants face in many parts of the region. Half-day visits to the tour cost 3,000 baht (about $87) for adults, and 1500 baht ($44) for children.