In the central area of the site, several man-made pools were discovered – their former use being to irrigate the commercial rubber trees and other plants on the site, which have since been partially cleared as you will have read in our previous posts. We desperately want to make use of these pools, and to integrate them into the elephants’ natural habitat and provide them with an access for bathing and cooling as well as drinking. It is vital that Asian elephants have regular access to a large water source in order to hydrate properly, maintain a healthy skin condition, and of course to cool down as elephants are unable to sweat through the skin.
After our Technical Adviser, Lee Sambrook, discovered that there were three pools, not two as first assumed, a plan was formed to check the pools for wildlife before any work was carried out. We felt it was so important to understand the implications of disturbing the habitat, and the need to preserve and enhance the ecosystem as we undertake our work to restore the land.
The survey of the pools was undertaken by one of Phang Nga Elephant Park’s young but very enthusiastic Volunteers, Cameron Mays, who has had considerable previous experience in marine wildlife.
After visiting the site over a two-day period, Cameron managed to find barbs, snails, shrimps and the occasional frog and lizard, and he was able to identify the fish as mainly gouramis, which are freshwater fish native to Asia and very common to this region. As part of the survey, it was necessary to compare our findings to pond life expected in Southern Thailand, which includes catfish, Snakehead and various Carp species, as well as the gouramis found by Cameron.
We hope this small survey will help us to continue to maintain our diverse wildlife residents once work has been completed. Meanwhile, if you feel you can help us, please think about giving just £25 to help make this a truly ecosensitive place for our elephant family.
Come back next week, to read another blog post on the new site….