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Images from around the world chosen by the photo desk at the Brandon Sun.

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  • April 22, 2016

    Exposure: Elephants in Thailand

    Seeing an elephant up close is a rare and wonderful experience. These animals combine great power with a surprising grace and renowned intelligence. They are the only animal, apart from humans, that exhibit signs of post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing violence or traumatic events. Sadly, there are no shortage of traumatic events facing elephants in Thailand. They have steadily lost much of their natural home because of deforestation and other human industry and many are starved or overworked in forest camps or in unethical tourist operations. Some who used to work at logging forests have been replaced by machinery and end up being used for begging or plying tourists in the megacity capital of Bangkok. One organization has stepped forward to rescue elephants from exploitation. The Elephants World sanctuary, located a few hours north of Bangkok, was started in 2008 by a Thai veterinarian to provide a place of safety for them. They call themselves a “retirement home” for elephants that have been injured during their work, or are too old to continue toiling in circuses, tourist camps or forestry operations. They run as a non-profit organization, funded exclusively by visitors and donations. Visitors can see and interact with elephants close up, while learning more about their care and how to enjoy them as a tourist in an ethical manner. More information, including how to visit and how to donate, can be found at elephantsworld.org.

  • Mahouts walk some of the elephants in the Kwai River near the Elephants World sanctuary. Elephants brought to the facility near Kanchanaburi are often rescued from abuse in work camps, unethical tourist operations or even begging in the congested traffic of Bangkok. A space at the sanctuary offers a return to health and an easier life for Thailand's national animal.

    Mahouts walk some of the elephants in the Kwai River near the Elephants World sanctuary. Elephants brought to the facility near Kanchanaburi are often rescued from abuse in work camps, unethical tourist operations or even begging in the congested traffic of Bangkok. A space at the sanctuary offers a return to health and an easier life for Thailand's national animal.   (Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun)

  • Visitors to the Elephants World sanctuary help feed the facility’s older elephants, who have lost most of their teeth and can’t eat their regular diet. Patrons of the rescue facility learn about interacting ethically as a tourist with Thailand’s national animal, as well as putting in a little labour to help care for the gentle giants.

    Visitors to the Elephants World sanctuary help feed the facility’s older elephants, who have lost most of their teeth and can’t eat their regular diet. Patrons of the rescue facility learn about interacting ethically as a tourist with Thailand’s national animal, as well as putting in a little labour to help care for the gentle giants.   (Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun)

  • One of the 14 elephants currently at the Elephants World sanctuary snacks on banana leaves in the forest outside the facility near Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Elephants are walked to the forests each evening where they spend the night among each other.

    One of the 14 elephants currently at the Elephants World sanctuary snacks on banana leaves in the forest outside the facility near Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Elephants are walked to the forests each evening where they spend the night among each other.   (Colin Corneau/Bramdon Sun)

  • Some of the 14 elephants currently at the Elephants World sanctuary walk with a visitor. The facility lets people interact with the animals in an ethical, cruelty-free way and helps educate about Thailand’s national animal, as well.

    Some of the 14 elephants currently at the Elephants World sanctuary walk with a visitor. The facility lets people interact with the animals in an ethical, cruelty-free way and helps educate about Thailand’s national animal, as well.   (Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun)

  • A bustling street market in Kanchanaburi is an easy place to buy bananas and other treats.

    A bustling street market in Kanchanaburi is an easy place to buy bananas and other treats.   (Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun)

  • A friendly dog sleeps outside one of the cabins for visitors to the Elephants World sanctuary near Kanchanaburi. The operation rescues the country’s national animals from work camps, unethical tourist operations or even begging in the streets of Thailand.

    A friendly dog sleeps outside one of the cabins for visitors to the Elephants World sanctuary near Kanchanaburi. The operation rescues the country’s national animals from work camps, unethical tourist operations or even begging in the streets of Thailand.   (Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun)

  • Bananas and other fresh fruits are on offer at a floating market north of Bangkok. Managers at the Elephants World sanctuary encourage visitors to bring bunches of bananas for the elephants as it’s one of their favourite snacks.

    Bananas and other fresh fruits are on offer at a floating market north of Bangkok. Managers at the Elephants World sanctuary encourage visitors to bring bunches of bananas for the elephants as it’s one of their favourite snacks.   (Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun)

  • Visitors help prepare food for some of the older elephants, who need softer food as they’ve often lost most of their teeth. Visitors to the facility help feed the animals, in keeping with the organization’s motto — “We Work For The Elephants, And The Elephants Not For Us.”

    Visitors help prepare food for some of the older elephants, who need softer food as they’ve often lost most of their teeth. Visitors to the facility help feed the animals, in keeping with the organization’s motto — “We Work For The Elephants, And The Elephants Not For Us.”   (Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun)

  • Visitors help make rice balls for the facility’s older elephants, who have lost most of their teeth and can’t eat their regular diet.

    Visitors help make rice balls for the facility’s older elephants, who have lost most of their teeth and can’t eat their regular diet.   (Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun)

  • Visitors to the Elephants World sanctuary help make rice balls for the facility’s older elephants, who have lost most of their teeth and can’t eat their regular diet. Patrons of the rescue facility learn about interacting ethically as a tourist with Thailand’s national animal, as well as putting in a little labour to help care for the gentle giants.

    Visitors to the Elephants World sanctuary help make rice balls for the facility’s older elephants, who have lost most of their teeth and can’t eat their regular diet. Patrons of the rescue facility learn about interacting ethically as a tourist with Thailand’s national animal, as well as putting in a little labour to help care for the gentle giants.   (Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun)

  • Two of Elephant World’s mahouts, who devote their lives to caring for the long-lived national animals of Thailand, watch as a group of elephants gather for an afternoon meal.

    Two of Elephant World’s mahouts, who devote their lives to caring for the long-lived national animals of Thailand, watch as a group of elephants gather for an afternoon meal.   (Colin Corneau/Brandon Sun)

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