You may be wondering how the recently rescued mother and daughter elephants are doing since their heartwarming reunion. Lek Chailert from the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand has just sent out an update, with a beautiful video showing the happy pair free in the jungle.
After almost a month back together in the jungle at a protected elephant sanctuary, we have some good news.
I know their story greatly touched many people’s hearts, and we all hoped to hear they are doing well.
If you missed it, read their lovely rescue and reunion story here.
“I have just spent time following them in their new home. The behavior of both has changed so much—their movements are relaxed and easy, they flap their ears all the time, their eyes are calm and gentle,” Lek said.
Mebai follows her mom’s every footstep. It seems that they try to recover the time taken away from them.
Little Mebai was taken from her mother when she was still nursing at just three years old, and sold into the tourist industry, where she was broken in, trained, and worked to exhaustion.
Lek rescued her back to the Elephant Nature Park to recover. Now only seven, still very young in elephant years, Lek managed to track down her mother Mae Yui, and was able to get her released from her tourist trekking job so they could be together and free.
“Mae Yui teaches her daughter how to find jungle food. Sometimes Mebai sees her mother take the jungle greenery and then she will take the food out from her mother’s mouth to taste it.”
The pair are actually at a different elephant sanctuary from the one Lek works at, but she just recently visited them to see how they are acclimatizing to their new home and freedom.
The mahouts caring for them said they roam free, but the mother wears a wooden bell on her neck to help keep track of where they wander, so as to protect them. Asian elephants are highly endangered. Deforestation, baby elephants taken for the tourist trade, and poaching for ivory are all major factors contributing to their rapid decline.
“Sometimes though it is not easy to find both of them because Mae Yui has put mud in the bell, or sometimes the bell disappears. They think that maybe Mebai has bitten the rope and tossed the bell away.”
“They enjoy their freedom [and new] life very much now. We can see so clearly the deep bond between them, and how the peaceful life and nature’s freedom is the best therapy to heal them. This is the case for all captive elephants.”
Asian elephant helpers
Lek is well-known for her compassion with the elephants, and they love her back dearly. She is working with a dedicated team and volunteers to rectify the unchecked and abusive elephant tourism industry, and get abused elephants set free. Volunteers are welcome to visit the elephant park, and even work for up to a week. Check out the website.
Another great operation working to help save the Asian elephant is the Mahout Elephant Foundation. The first goal they list is to encourage responsible and low impact tourism, which currently uses around 3,000 captive elephants, leaving only 2,000 in the wild. The elephants are mistreated, and often kept life-long in chains.