Ele of a hug! Tourist gets huge hug from friendly elephant
That’s one ele of a hug! These tourists hug it out – with a three tonne elephant.
The hilarious sequence of pictures shows the giant Asian elephant wrapping its trunk over the shoulder of one male holidaymaker.
As the pair pose for photographs, the elephant pulls the man in close to give him a big hug – knocking his straw hat flying.
Despite the elephants incredible strength, the man can be seen laughing and smiling as his new found friend holds him in the affectionate embrace.
Ian Maclean, from Hawaii, USA, was visiting the Maesa Elephant Camp near Chang Mai, Thailand, when he spotted the incredible moment.
Ian said: “I was with a group of other tourists being shown the elephants incredible human-like behaviour. They paint, play sports and give massages.
“At the end of the visit, they allow tourists to pose for some souvenir photos.
“This one elephant wrapped his trunk over the should of the man just like a human would while posing for a photo with a friend.
“Then after a few clicks, he pulled him in close and hugged it out. At first we all thought the man was going to be injured, but it soon became apparent the elephant was just being friendly.
“It was very amusing sight to see.”
Other tourists can be seen receiving hugs and kisses from the intelligent animals – who are cared for by a set of mahouts.
They are fed an incredible six tonnes of grass, bananas and sugarcane each day.
The camp – set on a river bank in the tropical valleys inland from Chiang Mai – claims to rescue the elephants from across Thailand.
A statement on their website says: “In the early days of elephant camps these were the main abilities showcased, but it was the camp’s founder, Choochart Kalmapijit’s understanding of the deep intelligence of elephants that inspired him to establish Maesa Elephant Camp in 1976.
“Over the years Choochart purchased elephants from all over the country, and with their mahouts and other experts, worked and fell in love with the elephants, revealing one skill or fact after another about these pachyderms that have not only helped to develop Maesa’s reputations over the years, but help further the cause of the conservation and future of the Asian elephant.