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Home > Elephant Nature Park > News > Elephant Stories

How I became an elephants mother.

November 2002 by Lek  Special Picture

I have been working and researching elephants in the wild for more than ten years. I have slept, eaten and stayed together with them in the lush jungles of my home in mountains. I have used this time to follow their groups and record their behaviour in their natural habitat as they are together with their herd. I found their social order totally amazing, how they cared for each other and the closeness of their relationships and their complex ranking structure. Ever keen on photography I relished my meetings with them and filmed this animal which has fascinated me for the greater part of my life. Their demeanour is a gentle one. A creature full of love, intelligence and caring to fellow herd members.

I loved watching mother elephants show their affection and deep love to their playful babies. I have seen births in the jungle and I also have acted as an elephants midwife for the elephant two times.

My greatest experience and privilege was as a midwife for an expectant mother elephant name "Mae Boon Num". She had been a domestic logging elephant but was later released back to the jungle. This was her second baby and she seemed so calm when giving birth. A treasure to watch. It was 1:00 am when she produced a healthy beautiful little boy. I helped the mother to clean and lift him up showing him where is to get his mothers milk.

I gave him the name "Jungle boy " because he born in the middle of the jungle and he belongs to the jungle. He was very healthy, hairy and he had the most adorable little blue eyes and pinkish trunk.

When he could first walk he would run between his mother and me. We really enjoyed playing with each other. At times Jungle boy would run and knock me then turn to lie down on the top of me. He was a very happy infant.

When the mother feed the baby she is sensitive and more patient usual with the naughty calf. The baby elephant will drink milk, then run off to play until exhausted when they lie beside their mother. Ever caring she will take a tree leave to chase the bugs of her offspring and watches over the calf until they awake.

The elephant mother teaches her calf by natural lesson. Firstly she shows the baby how to use the trunk to pick up food. It takes time to master as this limp appendage is uncoordinated and difficult to use. Next the youngster will be given a much loved mud bath then taught to use their feet to dig the roots. The little student will try to use the trunk to lift food, getting it wrong more often than not. The mother will use her own trunk to give a naughty youngster a slap when discipline is needed.

While watching them I can see the great love between them, reminding me of my own great mother. I wonder if I had a chance of motherhood could I be a great one like my mother or this loving elephant.

Then something totally unexpected happened. I received an urgent phone call from a Karen tribal family. They asked me to help them rescue a little baby elephant born just three days previous and whose mother was dead. ....

Part ii

Playful - our beautiful orphans.

Volunteers making sure they wash behind their  ears!

That's me!

Getting their breakfast!

Happy as a sandboy/girl

More Links about Lek
About the founder
Lek's bio - More about elephant nature park founder Lek's Bio
Message from Lek - elephant nature park founder Message from Lek
How I became and elephants mother How I became an elephants mother!


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