USNS Yukon Crew Visits, Swims with Thai Elephants > United States Navy > News Tales

Members from fleet replenishment oiler USNS Yukon (T-AO 202), and Army Sealift Command Far East, in an act of goodwill and a thirst for Thai tradition schooling, roamed, as nicely, and visited the Pattaya Elephant Sanctuary to assist lay a basis that will likely be a supply of meals for these elephants; and to feed and play with the massive residents.

Civilian Mariner Eryk Michalowski, a third mate on USNS Yukon, is on his first journey to Thailand, and second 12 months working with MSC. He beforehand served aboard the hospital ship USNS Consolation (T-AH 20) throughout Persevering with Promise 2022.

“I initially had no thought what we had been going to do on the sanctuary, however I wished to see the countryside, and to see how totally different it’s right here,” stated Michalowski. “It was thrilling to see these elephants. They’ll take pleasure in a more healthy way of life as a part of the Pattaya Elephant Sanctuary, the place they’re free to roam, and given meals and medical care, if wanted.”

Throughout pre-industrial Thailand, elephants had been utilized in logging and agriculture as a result of their power and skill to work in forested areas the place equipment couldn’t simply function, in line with Chadchaya Chaicharn, volunteer caretaker and coach at Pattaya Elephant Sanctuary.

As a working animal, elephants had been typically uncovered to harsh environments, exerting lengthy days doing strenuous labor.

At the moment, elephants are a significant draw for vacationers, and plenty of sanctuaries and conservation initiatives exist in Thailand to guard and take care of elephants.

On the Pattaya sanctuary, the elephants usually are not ridden, or made to carry out laborious labor. They’re free to play and roam; nonetheless, feeding these massive mammals is a every day problem for the volunteers.

“Daily we’re busy gathering sufficient meals to feed the elephants,” stated Chaicharn, who has been volunteering on the sanctuary for about 5 years. “Every elephant eats about 400 kilograms (882 lbs.) a day. If we will’t develop the meals, we have now to buy it, which is dear.”

In the course of the neighborhood outreach occasion, the CIVMARs tilled a muddy portion of the land and planted vegetation that will likely be served as elephant meals. As soon as this vegetation matures, in about three months, it should present a dependable supply of meals and can proceed to develop, even after it’s harvested.

The CIVMARs additionally donated about thirty watermelons, and some massive baggage of squash and freshly minimize vegetation that was fed to the elephants.

After about three hours of tilling and planting, the CIVMARs skilled hand-feeding the elephants, and swimming in a pond with them.

In Thailand, the elephant is a nationwide image and has been featured on the Thai flag and foreign money. The animal represents the nation’s identification and delight.

Renu is the proprietor of the Pattaya Elephant Sanctuary, which she opened six years in the past. The middle cares for 3 elephants, with a fourth one arriving in a few month.

These elephants had been both bought from abusive house owners, or given to the sanctuary by those that can now not care for his or her elephant.

“I really like elephants an excessive amount of,” stated Renu. “My father had an elephant that I used to stroll from my dwelling to the market daily, generally 100 km. (62 miles) a day. We walked on the street to move fruits and sugar canes.”

In response to Renu, in the future, about 30 years in the past, she noticed her elephant cry from strolling on the new street, and he or she felt very dangerous. That night, she noticed a information program concerning the first elephant sanctuary opening up in Thailand. That report has all the time stayed along with her, till the day she began her personal sanctuary.

Outreach occasions just like the go to by USNS Yukon assist increase consciousness concerning the sanctuary and elephants’ plight, and the significance of conservation efforts.

MSC Far East helps the U.S. seventh Fleet and ensures roughly 50 ships within the Indo-Pacific Area are manned, educated, and geared up to ship important provides, gas, cargo, and gear to warfighters, each at sea and on shore. U.S. seventh Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet and routinely interacts and operates with allies and companions in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific area.

Celebrating its seventy fifth anniversary in 2024, MSC exists to assist the joint warfighter throughout the complete spectrum of navy operations, with a workforce that features roughly 6,000 Civil Service Mariners and 1,100 contract mariners, supported by 1,500 shore workers and 1,400 lively obligation and Reserve navy personnel.