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Biodiversity: A Fairytale

By Ward Poelmans 4 years ago
Categories Chiang Mai

Ferns, flowers, flies, frogs, birds, snakes … The village of Huay Pakoot and its surrounding fields and forests are filled with so much more than just elephants. Don’t get me wrong: the elephants are incredible and seeing them strolling around the forest, peacefully foraging, is just a wonderful sight. However, that shouldn’t make you any less amazed about the surroundings of these gracious giants. For the past week I have been going on elephant hikes and, as a new volunteer, I was allowed enough time to look around and be amazed by the numerous inhabitants of these ancient woods.

You don’t even have to undertake a great deal of searching: just look at the little swarm of flies and bees that occasionally comes buzzing about. With their ruby facet eyes, divided into hundreds of little shiny mirrors of deep red, their golden collars like the crowns of the kings of old forgotten lands, and their sapphire blue to emerald green bodies, shining like the most precious gems in the morning light, these flies are the crown jewels of the forest.


A striking dragonfly resting by the river


And if they are the crown jewels, then the birds are the precious silken robes, only worn on the cheeriest of days. Their feathers are made of the most vivid of colours, going from fresh cut grass green to sunset red and from the bright white of the moon to the dark tone of the night. Their songs fill the forests with a liveliness that makes the trees seem that they are breathing and ready to get on their way, their bushy heads filled with life.


This Scarlet Minivet is a regular treat around base


All these units of life stay in touch by the invisible pathways of the most gracious of spirits, weaving a trail of pure sunshine across trees and riverbeds. Butterflies will leave you in awe, their seemingly fragile and gracious wings beating firmly, shattering airflows as they go. They form a class of old-fashioned princesses, natural beauties just fluttering about as they pay no attention to anything other than the ballet of their wings and flowers.


The Grand Duchess butterfly is one of many splendid specimens that live around the forest


This brings me to the non-animal life in the forest. I already mentioned the greatness of the trees, ancient giants, decrypting the ancient texts of the sun into life. But besides this incredible task, they are also the home of an astronomical amount of species, thriving and growing into a green-brown dress, decorated with raindrops as pearl shaped diamonds, diffracting the light into little rainbows and adding to the mystical spirit of the forest. These mosses, ferns and all other plant life tell their own stories, tales of animals and plants long gone or still to come.

So as you can see, these forests don’t only hold elephants, but are actually a collection of fairytales beyond the cunning of even the brothers Grimm.