The Elephant Sanctuary in Kuala Gandah, Malaysia, is your chance to get up close with these majestic and gentle creatures, hitch a ride on them through the tropical jungle, or even give them a quick bath in the river, with the help of the guides.
Established in 1989 within the Krau Wildlife Reserve, the sanctuary is managed by the Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Located near Lanchang town in Pahang, about an hour’s drive out of Kuala Lumpur, the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre has been at the forefront of raising, rehabilitating and relocating elephants to larger national parks throughout Peninsular Malaysia.
The centre is geared towards the plight of endangered elephants and was initially set up to translocate wild elephants that had been causing problems to local villagers in Malaysia – not entirely their fault as their natural habitat was being destroyed – into a safe and secure environment. The centre also rescues and rehabilitates orphaned and abandoned elephants, left behind by their herds.
The Kuala Gandah Elephant conservatory is home to elephants aged between 7 and 17 years old and is a great educational experience for those wanting to learn more about these endangered animals. The elephants themselves are trained to interact with humans and visitors are able to play with them and feed them (with supervision of course).
There is an admission fee that directly supports the helping of the elephants and also contributes to the upkeep of the conservation centre, so it is best to come with a generous heart.
The sanctuary is a popular destination for visitors, both local and foreign, who often visit on weekends to observe and participate in the activities. At the sanctuary itself, visitors can get information from the collateral available including general data on the conservatory and a video presentation on the centre's conservation efforts. Animal lovers can also participate in daily activities, like feeding and grooming the elephants and helping with the daily bathing in the nearby river. The centre has the tendency to get quite busy on weekends, so it might be better to slot in a weekday visit to avoid the crowds.
For adventurous souls who would like to explore a little more of the area, there is also an Orang Asli settlement next door, as well as the Deerland Park, located a mere five-minute drive away.
For a shot of eco-tourism at its best, make your way down to the Elephant Sanctuary at Kuala Gandah.
Dear readers, it has come to our attention that the Elephant Sanctuary no longer allows people to interact with the elephants as it is a violation of the Wildlife Protection Act 2010. The matter is apparently being discussed as many have complained that the enforcement is putting a stop on their livelihoods. If you have further information, please do comment below and let us know.
View Kuala Gandah Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary in a larger map
For more information on the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, visit their website.
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