Elephant Nature Park
Grandmother Elephant passes away
Thong Bai's passing Aug 06 - By Lek Chailert
We rescued Thong Bai from a trekking camp in January 2005.
She was more than 90 year old and had no teeth. When
she arrive the park she could hardly eat the grass we provided
and she was so tiny. We started to make new food recipes for
this old elephant, recipes she loves.
Soon after her arrival she become a close friend of Mae
Mai, a female elephant also rescued from a logging area. Park
visitors always saw the two standing in the field
together and they loved to go down to swim in the river.
In loving memory of Thong Bai our oldest
elephant at the park.
Thong Bai at Elephant Nature Park
On 29 July Thong Bai's health started to fail and she
collapsed. It took park staff many hours to lift her and
support her to stand up. With the love and support from her
friend Mae Mai, who never left her side, Thong Bai began to
slowly recover. Six days later we thought it a miracle as we
watched them walk across the park to the main hut. This astonished
us, no one had given her much hope, and we were delighted to see
her walking again.
Thong Bai spent a happy time with Mae Mai over the
following days. On 11 August at 10.30 pm she started to lay down beside her
friend. Mae Mai constantly checked Thong Bai's health,
using her trunk to smell all around her friends body.
Late afternoon tears began rolling down Mae Mai's cheeks. At 3.35 pm
the following day Thong Bai had passed away, thankfully with no pain. She just closed
her eyes and rested forever. Within minutes of Thong Bai passing
Mae Mai stood beside her and banged her trunk on the ground and
moaned. It was heart breaking to see how sad and distraught
she had become. We tried to take her away from Thong Bai's body
but she refused to budge. A Buddhist monk came
over to perform a ceremony for Thong Bai in the evening and Mae
Mai had still not moved. She stood by Thong Bai until the
very last minute when we moved the body.
Thanks for all of our
volunteers who spent the week between 29 July to 12 August 06
and helped with the hard work in looking after Thong Bai and Mae
Thanks for Linda Rifschnider and Serengeti Foundation USA who
helped us to rescue Thong Bai and gave her a moment of her life
time to have a taste of freedom from work, to learn and received
the love and care from humans. Of course thanks for Mae Mai who
became her good friend and shared a happy time at the park and make
Thong Bai felt like she had a real family and relished Thong
Thong Bai's life in pictures
With the herd and, as always, with her best friend.