Dec 05 (See Malia's Bio)
The Rescue of Malai. The elephant handicapped by landmine explosion
In early November 2002, after hard work all day, her mahout released Malai to browse the jungle and feed. Around midnight, the workers at the camp heard a loud explosion followed by screaming from the elephant herd. Elephants ran in panic to the work camp. Confusion everywhere
Malai was missing so they searched for her at day break. A trail of blood led them to Malai where she stood under a tree shaking with fear. Her back right feet were badly damaged and tears ran down her cheeks. Her Mahout managed to walk her from the jungle to the road. This painful journey took 4 days and nights up and down steep jungle hills. She struggled along in excruciating pain, shedding a lot of blood, along the way. They took her to the hospital and she was under a vets care for nearly a year.
The wounds began to heal. Malai lost about 20 inches of her legs and she will never walk properly again. He mentality and body shape became a problem for her logging work and her owners decided to sell her and salvage what they could as she was no longer any use to them.
A month later she was walking the streets begging for the group for a new group that had bought her. They though her handicap would gain more sympathy and money for them. They took Malai to walk the hot streets of Bangkok. Her injuries caused her to use only three legs to support her big body. Malai walked, every day, on the concrete streets until the toe nails of her three good feet started to crack and they then became infected, The wound on the injured feet began to open again . The mahout decided to take her back to the vet and whatever treatment he could find for her.
On November 18, Lek went to the Surin Elephant Round Up Festival. This year she brought her staff to help with research about street elephants and check on how they were looked after. Lek made 300 questionnaires for the mahout at the festival.
There were 276 elephants at the event in Surin province this year and the staff of Elephant Nature Park interviewed their mahouts. Suddenly Lek saw the young elephant chained by both front legs standing in the corner of the stadium field . She walk to ask the mahout and owner to find out about Malai.
The owner told Lek they will took her back to walk to streets as a beggar just before Christmas. Malaiís feet are still badly cracked and we are very worried that she will get sick again. Lek then decided to talk to the owner in an attempt to rescue her.
The talks were successfull and, with the help and support, of Nancy and Tony Mann from Malaysia, Malai was free at Elephant Nature Park on 22 December 2005
Malai is the elephant number 15 that we rescued to the park with in 2005