Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
Kuala Lumpur’s National Elephant Conservation Centre is a dedicated sanctuary for elephants who have been injured, orphaned or abandoned by their herd. It also helps to relocate elephants inhabiting areas that are no longer safe, releasing them into protected jungle reserves where they can roam freely in their natural environment. The centre itself if home to around 20 elephants, all of which would struggle to survive in the wild.
At the centre, they receive around the clock care and, despite being open to visitors, the elephants are not taken advantage of. The knowledgable team of carers endeavour to teach visitors about these marvellous creatures. Riding the elephants is not permitted; something that tourists may be sad to hear, but it is not right to use these beautiful creatures for our personal enjoyment. The centre does, however, allow visitors to feed and wash the elephants; this alone is an enchanting experience that we should be grateful for.
Elephants are an extremely intelligent mammal and when I visited the sanctuary, one cheeky youngster used his clever whit to his advantage. He knew that thrusting his injured leg towards me would induce my sympathy and result in more sugar cane for him!
When bathing a baby elephant, I was surprised at how gentle they were. They clearly enjoyed being given a good exfoliation with the riverbed sand and they rolled around in the water so that we could get all sides. Their skin was tough and surprisingly hairier that I had expected. Another great surprise was that their feet are oh-so soft. One baby elephant stood on my foot while bathing and it didn’t hurt at all. I thought that having an elephant crust my little toes would surely result in my hobbling home; how wrong I was.
It was a lovely afternoon at the sanctuary, surrounded by tropical jungle and birds’ song. We ended the day with yet another treat for the elephants – fresh papaya that looked so good, I wanted to eat it myself!
Wonder Fruit: Papaya
- The papaya is actually a berry and the papaya plant is not a tree but a giant herb!
- It is native to southern Mexico and Central America.
- The leaves and seeds of the papaya fruit are used as medicine in tropical cultures.
- One serving of papaya provides you will your daily intake of vitamin C.
- The papaya has many different names, including pawpaw in Europe and Australia, mamao in Brazil and, my favourite, fruita bomba in Cuba.
- Unripe green papaya is often used in Thai cuisine in salads or added to curries. When added to meat dishes, papaya helps to tenderise the meat.
- Papaya can help minimize acne, blemishes and skin infections, both when eaten or when applied directly to the skin. The fruit’s enzymes help dissolve dead skin cell to leave you with a glowing complexion!
- Eat papaya when you have an upset stomach; the fruit aids digestion.
- Papaya leaves infused into luke warm water increase your appetite.
- The papaya fruit has anti-cancer properties and its potassium content helps to protect the heart by regulating cell body fluids.
- Squeeze a lime over your papaya for a flavour sensation!