16. Re: Kuala Gandah Elephant sanctuary - recent experiences?
May 06, 2010, 12:59 PM
I went to the sanctuary several weeks ago together with my husband and 3 teenage kids with strong recommendations from one of my nieces who was a volunteer there in 2004 and she asked me to contact Razali. It was Razali who mentored my niece and other volunteers on both the elephant conservation work and the local culture.
Razali picked us up early from our hotel in Bukit Bintang, we got to the sanctuary early to help him run a water therapy session on a lovely youngish elephant in the river - we were the only visitors there!!!, then helped peel off barks of banana stems of various sizes for the residence elephants' dinner, had a lovely lunch spread IN the sanctuary prepared specially by the womens' association of the sanctuary, joined the arrival of other tourists in the regular tourist activities and then ended the day with a hands on preparation of milk for the youngish elephant and a small 6 months old baby elephant and then , we bottlefed them - YES... bottlefed them! We also had morning and evening refreshments in nearby local stalls as part of Razali's way of helping to support the local community and it was a great honour to have the senior officers of the sanctuary joining us for the morning refreshments as they wanted to meet up with Razali and ask his help in securing sponsorships for the sanctuary. One of the senior officers mentioned that Razali is the ONLY REAL friend the sanctuary, staff and elephants have for he has brought so many donations and sponsorships quietly for more than 18 years as an unpaid volunteer and because of him, the men involved in the monthly wild elephant rescue operations are almost fully equipped!
The staff caring for the injured youngish elephant and the baby elephant also had very high regards and respect for Razali for continuosly bringing in milk, rock salt, brown sugar, glucose, rice and pellets forboth the elephants' daily intake!
It was a very enriching experience for my family and 2 of teenage kids have already decided that they want to be vet doctors after listening to so much information about Malaysian elephants, elephants at the sanctuary and the continuous efforts in elephant conservation by the sanctuary from Razali and boy, does Razali speak really good english!!!
One of the senior officers even said that they always ask Razali to do proof reading and correct their english whenever they have assignments in english to complete!!!
Razali charged us RM 90-00 per person for his services with 2 light refreshments and a generous lunch spread in a private and hassle free location within the sanctuary and RM 400-00 for the van transfers and it was a 815am pickup before we arrived back at the hotel at about 6 in the evening. Makes us wonder how he can make money for what he charges!!!
I have no comments about what others are charging or paying for but to my husband and me, it was well worth the trip with Razali @ The Elephant Man, as we had a hands on working experience with the elephants and were honoured to have had 4 most senior officers of the sanctuary joining us for the morning refreshments which gave both of us a mighty impression on our guide,, Mr Razali!
After the sanctuary, we went to Malacca and then to Sarawakbefore heading back for Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. But my 2 teenage kids joined Razali and several tourists on a 4 days' camping trip in the heart of wild elephants and tigers deep inTerengganu. One of my son managed to snap pictures of 2 separate herds of wild elephants less than 100 yards away!
Yep, book Razali in advance and quickly if you want a bona fide elephant conservationist in heart and even all the elephants there were pretty relaxed with him approaching them!!!
And do try to help Razali equip an anti poaching team he is helping to equip in Terengganu by bringing much needed stuff. We brought a few hand held spotlights for the team.
FYA....Razali will be leaving his beloved work with elephants and the jungles soon to migrate....so GET HIM as your guide B4 he does that!!!
Have fun :-)
21 - Mon: Kuala Gandah < │ > 22 - Tue: Putrajaya