Green Hill Valley Camp 是一個給生病，受傷或退役大象的照顧營區。位於緬甸中部Kalaw開車約45分鐘. 從2011年起開幕，是由曾與緬甸木業協會（MTE) 大象一起工作的當地家庭所創辦。這個大象照顧營創辦時只有兩頭大象, 今日已有八頭大象 (不含一頭過世的大象)。
Green Hill Valley Camp is a sanctuary for sick, injured, and retired elephants. It is in the middle of Myanmar in Kalaw (around 45m drive). It has been opened since 2011. It was made by a family that used to work with elephants in the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE). The camp is opened by local people, and began with just 2 elephants. Today if you visit GHV Camp there are 8 elephants. There should be 9 but one elephant passed away.
SOMETHING ABOUT ELEPHANT/ 關於大象
Elephant is the largest mammal on the land. There are mainly two types of elephants: Asian elephants and African elephants. While the Asian elephant is just one species the African elephant is divided into several like the African Bush elephant. Due to climate and environment changes over last millions of years, many types of elephants are extinct. Experts calculate that there are about 415,000 African elephants left in the wild and are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ while Asian elephants are listed on ‘Endangered’ and have less than 40,000 elephants left in the wild. Over the last 60-75 years they have decreased around 50%.
Asian elephants mostly live in South-East Asia. About half of Asian elephants are in India, so they also are recognized by their nickname, Indian Elephants. Today about 8,000 Asian elephants left in Myanmar and their population in the wild is decreasing rapidly. Poachers are hunting elephants illegally for their skin, trunk, and tusk. Even though Asian elephants have tusks it isn’t the only threat. Their powerful trunk which has about 100,000 muscles makes a lot of money. They don’t do anything but people sell the trunk in black markets. Some people believe that it has healing powers. Also because of the environment change, Asian elephants’ habitat is getting smaller. They live in forests but people are cutting down forests for making furniture, getting more land, and to use the wood for other reasons. Because of their bulkiness and diet size, they can’t live near farms or villages. Sometimes elephants leave the forest and stumble into a farm. They eat the crops which anger the farmers and there is some conflict between them. Sometimes the farmer shoots the elephant so it won’t damage all of the crops.
African elephants are bigger in size compared to Asian elephants. African elephants also have differences with Asian elephants. For example, African elephants have 2 “fingers” on their nose while Asian elephants only have 1 “finger” on their nose. An elephant’s “finger” is used for grabbing small things. Do you know that elephants not only have 1 nose but 2 noses? While the main nose called the trunk is used for grabbing things the second nose is smaller and is just 2 holes in the elephant’s mouth. The second nose is used for memory. It’s used for recognizing family members. It does this by recognizing the scent of their family members. Another interesting fact is that African elephants’ ears are shaped like the “African continent” while the Asian elephants’ ears are more round and smaller. African elephants mainly live in Africa.
Even if elephants look like calm and gentle animals, don’t be swayed, they can be dangerous at times. They will attack like rhinos or hippos. Using it’s tusks to stabs the opponent, using it’s trunks to squeeze the enemy. Because elephants are so big and powerful they can leave permanent damage or even kill someone.
OUT EXPERIENCE IN GREEN HILL/ 大象營體驗
ELEPHANT FEEDING 大象餵食
我和家人在12月到Greenhill valley大象照顧營，天氣不會太熱剛好. 我們在當日早上約九點半抵達,我第一個印象是有很多的樹。 一開始營區的解說員會花10-15分鐘告訴大家營區的歷史，大象面臨的困境， 與他們做了什麼來幫助大象，因為緬甸森林不斷的減少營區還會種樹幫助生態。 在解說後大家會分成不同的小組由不同的解說員帶領活動。我們家庭和一對歐洲的情侶六個人被歸在一組。第一個行程就是為大象吃東西，有大量新鮮的南瓜，香蕉，與小麥粉提供餵食。
My and my family went to GHV Camp in December so the weather wasn’t too hot or cold. We arrived in the morning and my first impression was that there was a lot of trees. One of the elephant caretaker had a speech about the history of their camp, why they help the elephants, and what they do to help the elephants. Because the problem of all the trees being cut down GHV Camp plant a lot of trees for the environment and for the elephants’ free time. After the speech everyone was divided into groups. My family including me were paired with a European couple and a guide. The first thing on our schedule was elephant feeding. For the feeding we were provided with fresh pumpkins, banana stem, and wheat.
An average elephant can eat at least 80-100 kg of food per day! The younger elephants were more aggressive and enjoyed pumpkins a lot. Meanwhile, the older elephants were more gentle and slower. They enjoyed the wheat because it was easier to chew and devour. Me and my brother, Justin, really enjoyed feeding the elephants. After a while, we were more confident and feed them by putting the food in the elephant’s mouth. We liked feeding the older elephant more。
ELEPHANT BATHING/ 幫大象洗澡
接著我們幫大象沐浴。因為下半身會濕透，我們會換上營區提供傳統的長褲。 褲子尺寸是給大人地所以我們要捲到胸部。在洗澡前我們先去大象照顧員的小屋了解他們的健康狀況， 醫生就是創立家族的親戚，照顧員會給我們看每隻大象完整的健康紀錄，也給我們看一些對大象有害的寄生蟲種類標本。大象的指甲剪刀真的很大!
Next we got ready to shower the elephant. We changed into traditional trousers because the water was a little deep, for the adult it goes up to the waist and we didn’t want to get our legs wet. But before we went to the river to wash the elephant we went to see the elephants’ caretaker. The caretaker gave us each a record of the elephants here. He also showed us some worms and insects that hurt the elephants. At last the elephant caretaker showed us an elephant nail-clipper. It was very big.
幫大象洗澡是很有趣的經驗我們看完檔案後去幫大象洗澡。工作人員會先帶著大象到附近小溪。大象由於毛少，皮膚又厚，容易生皮膚病，所以需要經常洗澡或做泥浴同時幫助散熱。在大象營每天會在中午與傍晚幫大象洗澡兩次。 因為大象體積大所以我們幫忙洗澡他們要蹲下來，但解說員告訴我們大象不能蹲下來太久所以我們洗澡時間有限。他給我們用植物做成的刷布，因為是在小溪中洗澡，一開始會覺得溪水很冰冷。營區工作人員把我和Justin放在大象背上，他們的皮又厚又粗造，我們很用力地刷洗他們的2-3公分厚的皮膚。洗澡真的是個有趣的經驗 !!
After we finished looking at the files we finally went to shower the elephant. The guide told us that elephants can’t stay down for too long so we can’t take too much time. He gave each of us “soap” made of a kind of plant. The water was really cold. Some elephant helpers put me and my brother on the elephant. The skin was rough and the hair was really thick and strong. We scrubbed the elephant’s skin really hard because their skin is 2-3 cm thick. It was really fun washing the elephant for me. After we finished the European couples had their turn washing the elephant.
When we finished washing the elephants we changed from our wet clothes into dry ones. The guide asked us if we would like to feed the elephants before lunch and we agreed. Lunch was lovely. For dessert, we had fried bananas with honey.
我們幫大象洗澡後換上自己原來的衣服。因為接近中午陽光很大，工作人員接著帶我們去午餐。 搭建的半露天小屋餐廳環境很舒適通風，食物也很好吃。我們還吃了 炸香蕉沾蜂蜜當甜點。
ELEPHANT DUNG PAPER & PLANTING/ 大象糞便造紙&種樹
Dung paper was the next thing on our schedule. But before that we went to see the museum of bones. There were 2 sets of bones. The first was an adult elephant. The second was a baby elephant. Our tour guide told us that the baby passed away when it was just 2 weeks old. It’s mother had passed away. While the baby was walking one day it accidentally slipped while it was in a river and drowned.
After seeing the bones we went to see the dung paper being made. It was exactly the same process of how normal paper is made except for a few steps. First the elephant dung was slowly with water over a fire for 14 hours. This step is here to kill the germs and take away the unpleasant smell of dung. Next the liquid is poured into a big bowl of water. Then a mesh is casted into the water. Because the dung liquid still contains fiber it can be separated from water. After the water has run out the dung paper is set out in the sun to dry. It takes about 2 days for it to dry. After it has dry the paper is very rough like sandpaper, so the paper is put into a roller to make it smooth.
After visiting dung paper we went back for afternoon elephant feeding again.
Myanmar’s forest is decreasing about 2% percent every year. Only 40% percent of Myanmar is forest and if nobody does anything it would soon be gone. Because of this problem GHV Camp plants tree to save the environments and elephants. Our guide gave us each a little pot full of soil and a seed. He told us that the seed was a tea leaf seed. We put the seed about 1 cm deep in the soil. Then we gave the pot to the guide. We finished our camp activity around 0330pm in the afternoon.
FINAL WORDS 結語
如果你到緬甸旅遊， 強烈建議大家到大象照顧營! 你可以幫助照顧與種樹，同時你可以在大象餵食與洗澡中得到許多樂趣!
If you visit Myanmar you must visit Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp. When visiting the Camp you are helping the elephants and planting project, also at the same time you can have fun feeding and bathing the elephants. So if you are considering going to Myanmar then add a visit to Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp to your schedule!
<圖：Green hill valley 的活動集錦，照片來自官網>
*＊Green hill valley elephant camp 大象營官網連結