Soon Israelis will no longer be required to fly to Thailand to ride an elephant. This rare experience will soon become available in a unique Israeli park set to be founded in the Western Negev.
The park is set to be built on agricultural lands near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, and its designers are planning an Asian jungle setting similar to the park in Bali, Indonesia.
Some 20-30 female elephants will be brought to the park - female elephants are known to be friendlier then their male counterparts. The elephants will primarily be imported from Thailand and other East Asian countries. They will roam about freely in the park, and visitors will get a chance to ride them while being assisted by a team specially trained for the job.
The park is set to attract tourists to the southern part of the country and will also promote tourism to other sites in the area. The planners of the park say they hope it will serve as a source of income to residents in the area.
Members of Kibbutz Nahal Oz and representatives from the Tourist Ministry are currently going over the plans of this unique project. The estimated cost of building the park is NIS six million, and the kibbutz hopes to find an entrepreneur who would invest in the project.
The Tourist Ministry will also assist by providing organizational and planning consultation for the project.
According to plans, the park is due to open to the public in 2008 and 400,000 visitors a year are expected to visit the park.
Reproduced with permission: Ynet