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Published: January 3rd 2014
Up early and checked out with Wayne and I madly searching for baby formula and towels (the things that our guide had mentioned by email I should try to bring along to the Elephant Santuary). No luck with the formula (it turns out this was not a problem as the sanctuary had plenty and they are beginning to wean some of elephants off it) and Wayne managed to grab towels from a hardware store (many shops and stalls do not open till after 10am so this was a win).
Our driver Mr Zul arrived and we began our drive out to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
(drive to sanctuary, storing our bags all day and getting us to the airport on time MYR600). Mr Zali had given instructions for us to stop at a petrol station and buy some bread (25 loaves), he met us on arrival after a drive of around 2 hours. Mr Zali
has been volunteering at the sanctuary for 23 years and knows and loves the elephants. We were so lucky to have him as a guide as this meant we were able to volunteer along side him for the day. We prepared food for the babies as well as
the slightly older elephants. Tash and I ended up with our arms up over our elbows in a squishy mixture of bread, rice, molasses and warm water with a consistency and temperature reminiscent of vomit but sweet smelling and obviously delicious to the baby elephants. We each fed this to the babies who in between 'bottles' sucked our thumbs. The boys cut up papayas and helped clean up the enclosures. An amazing opportunity to be close to and get an understanding of these animals and the work being done here to protect them. There were no photos allowed during this part of the day but it was an awesome experience that I'm sure any of us would recommend.
We also joined in the public feeding time with sugar cane to hand feed to the young elephants that are currently kept in the enclosures you see in our photos. The younger ones are not in public viewing areas and the older elephants spend most of their days in the jungle.
Mr Zali had a lovely local lady prepare a nice lunch and we grabbed an ice cream before getting changed for the highlight of the day.
level in the river that forms the border of the protected conservation area is safe visitors can join the young elephants when they bathe in the river. This was so much fun - giving them a rub with river sand and splashing around as well as getting a cuddle.
We showered and dressed ready for some quick thank yous and good byes before heading to the airport where Jesse returned to the Gold Coast and we took off for Kuching.
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