IN LOVING MEMORY OF SA ARD 1958 - 2022
As many of you may have heard, beautiful senior elephant, Sa Ard from Pamper A Pachyderm, passed away on 23rd March 2022. Sa Ard fell down after drinking at the river in the afternoon and was treated by the vet team from ENP. While lying on her side, Sa Ard ate a full basket of bananas and watermelon as well as banana balls. After she had filled her belly, she took a full draw of air and then exhaled her last breath, surrounded by the loving presence of Muoy, Yan, and her dogs friends.
Sa Ard was born in 1958 and spent most of her life working doing logging and later at a trekking camp in Pattaya where she did elephant riding for several decades. Her life was dramatically transformed when she was rescued by Muoy in 2016 and came to live at Pamper A Pachyderm, the first Saddle Off project, opened in 2014. At the time of her rescue, she was quite thin and in poor health, but with Muoy’s loving care, Sa Ard put on weight, gained strength daily. After having previously endured many years of hard work in servitude, she was finally able to experience just being an elephant.
Sa Ard was an amazing, gentle, sweet and strong-willed elephant, who was friendly and kind natured. She enjoyed walking in the grassy fields, forest and by the river, eating bamboo leaves and shoots, as well as figs and other natural vegetation, but she especially loved treats including bananas, watermelon, and banana health balls. Sa Ard, which means clean in Thai, in truth loved to get dirty by spraying mud all over her body and scratching against tress and rocks. Every day she would walk to the river to take a drink and sometimes a mud spa treatment. Sa Ard lived with an elephant named Happy, at Pamper A Pachyderm for many years. These two senior elephants coexisted peacefully under the dedicated care of Mouy, ambling along together around their home in nature, free of work and receiving the respect they deserve.
Sadly, Happy who was in her 70’s, passed away in January 2021. After losing her friend Happy, Sa Ard, became quite depressed. Soon after Kham Pang was rescued & came to live at Pamper A Pachyderm to keep Sa Ard company. While these two elephants did not develop an especially close relationship, they were friendly with each other.
Sa Ard was blind in her left eye for many years as a result of a cataract and only had partial sight in her right eye until late last year when she developed an eye infection and became completely blind. After losing her vision, SaArd walked somewhat awkwardly and sometimes bumped into trees and other objects and had difficulty navigating her surroundings.
Her life touched the many people from around the world who had the privilege of meeting Sa Ard and spending time with this sweet old elephant.
We would like to thank all of the kind hearted people who sponsored Sa Ard and gave food gifts & fruit cakes to her over the past couple of years. A special thanks to Kim, who treated Sa Ard to a fruit cake every month for over a year, and to Annie Marie for her ongoing generous support. Sa Ard looked so majestic eating her cakes with her super large ears flapping and her dog friends nearby. She was always so excited to receive cakes, fruit treats and banana balls, but unlike other elephants and as a result of her worn down teeth, she tended to eat slowly, savoring each mouthful.
Most of all, thank you to Muoy for loving and caring for beautiful Sa Ard so well and giving her a beautiful, peaceful life over the past 6 years. May your spirit be free SaArd, resting in the heavens with your friend, Happy. We will remember you always beautiful Sa Ard.
Support the Dogs at Pamper A Pachyderm
Life at Pamper A Pachyderm - Sa Ard & her new Friend, Kham Pang
Sa Ard’s friend Happy, sadly passed away in January 2021 from old age. Sa Ard, a senior, partially blind elephant became quite depressed and unwell and could not get up one morning after a particularly cold night. Lek, the founder of Save Elephant Foundation, decided that she needed to find a friend for Sa Ard, and so Kham Pang was rescued on 1st February 2021, with the help of Gentle Giants and brought to live at Pamper A Pachyderm.
Kham Pang is an older elephant in her 50’s, who was rescued from a camp along the Myanmar – Thai border where she did elephant riding for about 12 years. The journey from there to Chiang Mai took about 18 hours. After travelling for many hours, Kham Pang arrived safely at her new home, where she met Sa Ard, who had been alone for a few weeks following Happy’s death. After Kham Pang walked down off the truck, Sa Ard sent out a low rumbling sound to welcome her. Not long after, Kham Pang walked over to ‘talk’ to Sa Ard and they both smelled and greeted each other.
Sa Ard and Kham Pang have been together for about 10 months now, are spending more and more together, walking to the river for a drink, foraging on bamboo, or eating figs fallen from the tree. They have started to develop trust, are more relaxed in each other’s company and have become friends.
Life During Covid at Pamper A Pachyderm 2020
Happy and Sa Ard are two beautiful, gentle natured, senior elephants in their 60’s and 70’s. Since March 2020, there have been no visitors to Pamper A Pachyderm. The elephants spend their days in the nearby grassy fields and forest and by the river, foraging on natural vegetation including grass, bamboo leaves and shoots, as well as leaves from various tress and figs fallen to the ground. They like to drink from the river each day but are not so keen on swimming, being elderly elephants. Happy & Sa Ard also like to cover themselves in mud or dirt and scratch their bodies against tress and rocks.
Happy and Sa Ard also have special food requirements, being elderly elephants with worn down teeth. They especially love bananas, watermelon without the skin, and banana and tamarind health balls which aid their digestion. They are cared for with dedication by Muoy, but with no guests it is difficult to provide for the elephants sufficiently. Elephants need to consume vast quantities of food each day, and so during these challenging times if you are able to help, please consider supporting these beautiful older elephants.
Experience a touching encounter with elderly elephants in beautiful surroundings, and later, whitewater raft your way to Elephant Nature Park to meet the herds
This elephant sanctuary, located by the Mae Taeng River near Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand, is one of the first projects developed that has seen the traditional activities of elephant camps transformed under our Saddle Off model. Seeking an alternative to offering elephant riding and performances, the owner was happy to change to a mutually beneficial program where the elephants have the freedom to socialize and walk through the forest foraging on native plants, while a small group of guests experience a meaningful, intimate encounter with these majestic animals.
This project currently provides a restful home to two elephants, both over 60 years old, now enjoying their retirement from a hard life working in the logging industry and providing rides to tourists. The will of the elephants here is respected and they are not expected to do things that they don’t want to, for example, bathe in the river when the water is cold. Since joining the project, the elephants have gained weight, and understandably, their mood has greatly improved. The elephants will be happy to see you, since for much of the day you will be offering them food, and above all else, elephants love to eat!
Get acquainted with the elephants in the morning while feeding them watermelon, pumpkin or bananas and learn to make medicinal food balls for them, including a native vine and a root vegetable known to aid digestion and improve the condition of their skin. Next, join the elephants on a challenging hike that crosses the river, then follows scenic mountain jungle trails; feeding the elephants bananas along the way. Having ascended the hill, stop for a vegetarian buffet lunch in the forest while the elephants graze close by. After lunch, walk downhill to the river to bathe the elephants, weather permitting, before being transferred by minivan to the starting point for your whitewater rafting adventure, which stops at Elephant Nature Park. Here, you can observe the resident herds socializing in the late afternoon. On rare occasions, rafting can become impractical due to weather conditions, in which case other activities will be extended.
Pamper a Pachyderm is a great example of how progressive ecotourism is catching on. It is hoped that this trend towards empathic, ethical elephant tourism will continue to evolve and grow throughout Asia so that more elephants can be freed from a life of toil and enjoy a more natural existence.
Walk with Elephants
Feed the Elephants
Observe the Elephants
Visit Elephant Nature Park
Number of Guests: 8
Number of Elephants: 2
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Challenging
Age Suitability: Adults & Children 12+
Adults & Children 12+: 6,000 Thai Baht
Adults & Children 12 +
About Your Trip
Start: 8:00am – 8:45am minivan pick up from your Chiang Mai city hotel or from our office at 7:45am. If staying out of town (outside the middle ring-road) additional charges apply. Please advise on your reservation form.
Travel Time: Around 90 minutes (educational video about Asian elephants / safety talk en route to project).
Return: Arrive back in Chiang Mai city 5:00pm – 5.30pm.
Baggage Allowance: One small day pack per person.
What to Bring: Hat, sunscreen, sandals/flip flops, change of clothing (as you may get muddy or wet), towel, walking shoes, camera & insect repellent.
Operational Months: All year round.
Age Suitability: Adults & children over 12 – guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Fitness Level: Challenging – capable of walking for an hour or more across a river & on hilly terrain with steep sections, which can become muddy in the rainy season, as well as whitewater rafting depending on conditions.
Topography: Valley, hills, forest & river.
Extra Activities: Whitewater rafting / visit to Elephant Nature Park.
Location: Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.
Nearest Airport: Chiang Mai (CNX) – we recommend that you stay in Chiang Mai city the night before your visit. Please note that we cannot collect you from Chiang Mai Airport – only from your Chiang Mai city hotel or guesthouse.
Booking Details: Bookings close at 5pm (GMT+7) on the day before the date of your tour if made in person at our office or 24 hours in advance if booking online. A 30% non-refundable deposit is required to secure your booking. The balance can be paid at our Chiang Mai office or at Elephant Nature Park on the day of your tour.
Sa Ard was born in 1958 and used to work in logging and later at a trekking camp in Pattaya where she did elephant riding for several decades. She was rescued and brought to live at Pamper A Pachyderm about 6 years ago. Sa Ard is blind in her left eye and only has partial sight in her right eye. Sa Ard is a friendly, gentle natured elephant who is also strong minded. She loves to eat a variety of food, especially bananas, watermelon, without the skin and tamarind. Sa Ard enjoys walking in the forest and eating bamboo leaves and shoots as well as picking up figs that have fallen from the tree. Sa Ard lived with an elephant, named Happy, at Pamper A Pachyderm for many years but sadly Happy, who was in her 70’s, passed away in January. After Happy passed away Sa Ard, became quite depressed and unwell and could not get up one morning after a cold night. She was quite lost after losing her friend, Happy. About a month later Kham Pang was rescued and came to live at Pamper A Pachyderm. These two elephants are slowly getting to know each other and becoming friends. Sa Ard is cared for with dedication by Muoy and her husband, Yan and they share a relationship of mutual respect and affection.
Kham Pang was rescued from a small town along the Myanmar - Thai border on 1st February 2021.Kham Pang is an older elephant in her 50’s who had lived at this camp doing elephant riding for about 12 years. When she was rescued she was very thin and weak. Kham Pang was rescued with the help of Gentle Giants and brought to live at Pamper A Pachyderm where there was an empty chain free shelter and she could provide a companion to Sa Ard who was alone. Kham Pang was very calm on the truck during the long 18 hour journey and ate lots of bananas as if she knew she was going to a better place. After travelling for many hours Kham Pang arrived safely at her new home at Pamper A Pachyderm, close to Elephant Nature Park, where she met her new friend. After Kham Pang walked down off the truck, Sa Ard sent out a low rumbling sound to welcome her. Not long after, Kham Pang walked over to talk to Sa Ard and they both smelled and greeted each other. Kham Pang and Sa Ard are still getting to know each other and Kham Pang often follows Sa Ard around. They seem to enjoy each other’s company and whilst they cannot share food yet, they are friendly and spend lots of time together foraging in the forest and the grassy fields by the river.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF HAPPY 1942 - 2021
Beautiful senior elephant, Happy passed away peacefully in her sleep at 3am on 15 January 2021 surrounded by love, with Muoy, Yan, Sa Ard and her dogs friends by her side.
Happy was born in 1942 and spent most of her life working hard in logging and then later at trekking camps, giving rides to tourists. Her life took a turn for the better when she was rescued by Muoy on 8 February 2015 and came to live at Pamper A Pachyderm. At the time of her rescue she was very thin and in poor health, but with Muoy’s loving care, Happy put on weight, gained her strength, and never had to feel a chain around her leg again. Finally, she was able to experience just being an elephant.
Happy became friends with several elephants over the years and had an especially close bond with Mae Sri Prai, who passed away a few years ago. Her life at Pamper A Pachyderm was a more natural one with the freedom to wander in nature and forage with her friend Sa Ard close by, often followed by her many dog companions. Her life touched many people from around the world who met Happy and had the privilege of spending time with this sweet old elephant.
Recently, Happy managed to open the door of her shelter during the night and went walk-about. She followed the riverbank, stopped to eat some bananas growing nearby, and then wandered up the hill where she munched more bananas at a plantation before finding a nice patch of soft sand to take a nap. Muoy was so relieved to find her sleeping peacefully at around 3pm after her big adventure.
Happy was a very gentle natured and intelligent elephant who was kind to both people and her animal friends. We would like to thank everyone who gave food gifts and cakes to Happy during the Covid crisis and who have been supporting Pamper A Pachyderm over the past year. Thank you to everyone for the love and sympathy you have sent from around the world after hearing of Happy’s passing.
Most of all, thank you to Muoy for loving and caring for Happy so well and for giving her a beautiful, peaceful life over the past 6 years. We will remember you always Happy. May your spirit be free Happy and may you rest in peace.
When the owner of this project, Muoy Khamwichia, became disenchanted with the way her elephant camp operated, which included elephant riding and performances, she reached out to her neighbor, Lek Chailert, to learn more about the ways of Elephant Nature Park. Mouy was inspired by the freedom that the elephants at ENP enjoy and the fact that enthusiastic visitors were coming daily to see elephants living in herds, free to roam and socialize. Pamper A Pachyderm was established in January 2014, making it the first camp to transition to the Saddle Off model. The project provides a loving home to a senior elephant, Sa Ard (born 1958) who was rescued from elephant riding in Pattaya about 6 years ago. Our beautiful elephant Happy (born 1942) sadly passed away in January 2021 from old age. In February 2021 Kham Pang was rescued from the Thai Burmese border and now lives at Pamper A Pachyderm with Sa Ard. At Pamper A Pachyderm there are chain free shelters for the elephants to sleep in at night so these lucky elephants never have to experience a chain around their legs again. Muoy is sensitive to the health and mood of the two old female elephants in her care and is dedicated to their well-being.