It being my birthday, and elephants being awesome, it seemed we had no other choice but to pay a visit to Mondulkiri Project‘s Elephant Sanctuary! So Amanda and I braved the 6 hour minibus from Phnom Penh to the town of Sen Monorom in Mondulkiri province for a 2 night stay at the Tree Lodge.
The Tree Lodge, run by the same people who run the Mondulkiri Project, is a guesthouse with a bunch of sweet bungalows lined up in a row. It feels a bit like camping (or maybe glamping) because you’re exposed to nature, but the bed comes with a mosquito net and there’s hot water and electricity.
Mondulkiri Project is a growing organization that aims to protect Cambodia’s dwindling elephant population. They currently own 2 domestic elephants, and permanently rent 2 others. The 4 females are: Sophie, the sweet one, Princess, the greedy one, Lucky, the shy one, and Comvine, the dominant one. We had a chance to speak with the founder, Mr. Tree, and hear firsthand how the project is coming along. From acquiring the land, keeping the animals happy, growing the population, educating the community, and fending off loggers and rubber plantations, they have their hands full. If you want to help them rescue their next elephant, please donate to their campaign.
After their morning feeding, we followed Comvine around to watch her eat bamboo and hang around in her natural habitat.
A bunch more highlights:
After lunch, a nice nap in a hammock, and coffee/tea time, we headed back down the hill to give Comvine and Princess a bath.
We felt extremely lucky to get time with these gentle giants, and snapped about a million photos. Thank you, Amanda, for the awesome birthday present. Also, thank you to Mr. Tree, Lee, and the rest of the community for fighting the good fight!