Often overlooked, 60-something year old Mae Thai – a grandma auntie on the Faa Mai side of our largest family group — has been at Elephant Nature Park since December 2002. She became one of Tong Jaan’s aunties in late 2005, not long after Tong Jaan and Mae Bua Tong’s arrival. She has remained a loyal auntie to Tong Jaan ever since and has helped look after some of the new arrivals as well. Mae Thai’s protective nature sometimes gets the best of her. Though most of her fellow herd members are quite social and friendly with other elephants when they wander over to visit, Mae Thai will often try to chase them away!
One of the nicest, most competent and well known mahouts at the Elephant Nature Park is 36-year-old Dam. He is currently the mahout of Navann and Sri Prae. Dam comes from the Shan state of Burma (or Myanmar). About ten percent of our mahouts are Shan, who fled their homeland to escape persecution. Dam has been in Thailand for 15 years and has always worked as a mahout. His wife, Gayna, is also employed by ENP, and works in the kitchen. They have a beautiful 5-year-old daughter, Faa Sai. Dam is linguistically diverse and is fluent in Shan, Burmese, some Chinese, as well as Thai!
Mintra can’t wipe the smile off her face these days … she has a good friend by her side, a bundle of joy at her breast and a loyal old fuss budget hovering in the background. But what makes her smile the most is that she is enjoying the company of those most dearest to her while grazing peacefully, feeling the grass underfoot and the sun shining on her back. She can have a roll in the mud when she wishes and has a companion to rub against when needed. Finally, after six weeks in the security of the shelter, Mintra and Yin Dee are free to roam at will at Elephant Nature Park!
Dear old Mae Tee. At around 60 years old, she has an indomitable spirit. Against all odds, Mae Tee is roaming further and further afield with each passing day.
Fact: One elephant is killed every 15 minutes.
Fact: Last year, 36,000 elephants were killed for ivory.
Ivory, although banned in many countries, continues to be internationally smuggled. After China, Thailand is the largest consumer of ivory. And, it is still legal in the country.
On Friday, 4 October, people from around the world will stand in solidarity with the elephants and take to cities to ask the world to help stop the ivory trade at the International March for Elephants. The event will help to urge countries who still allow ivory to ban it and to show that the public cares about these magnificent creatures.
We ask that you join us, Save Elephant Foundation, along with the Animal Activist Alliance, Elephant Nature Park and the Wildlife Friend Foundation, and the organizers of this international event, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, on Friday, 4 October in Bangkok (or any of the other cities around the world where the march is taking place) to help raise awareness about poaching, about how quickly elephants will be gone from the wild, about the immediate need to stop the ivory trade.
We need you, no matter where in the world you are, to show your support. If you cannot attend an event, you can still help to spread the word online and encourage governments to clamp down on the ivory trade, and encourage people to end the demand.
For those attending the march in Bangkok, the schedule is below.
Thank you for helping to stop the ivory trade, and thank you for standing up for elephants.
The new baby elephant, Yin Dee
Rumbles, roars and chirps erupted at around 12:15 a.m. on August 25th breaking the midnight silence, announcing the arrival of a new born calf. Stirred to consciousness by the vocalizations, bleary eyed ENP staff sprung from their beds. Grabbing flashlights and cameras, they rushed to the elephant shelters to catch a glimpse of the newest member of our herd.
A new and long-awaited activity has finally begun here at Elephant Nature Park. The different social groups within our herd are taking turns going up to the jungle. The mountainside behind the mahout village is thick with the various jungle foliage that grows in abundance during the rainy season. This is a wonderful opportunity for the elephants to add more roughage and variety to their diets and to get exercise as well. It is overwhelmingly obvious how much the elephants enjoy these outings. For some, like Lucky, this may be their first encounter with real jungle! Imagine what an exciting experience it must be for her!
Both Navann and Dok Mai, led by their families are also enjoying exploring the new territory and receiving botany lessons, elephant style. Each social group will have a turn as long as they are physically able. Our aim is to continue this for as long as it is possible, taking breaks from time to time or moving to different areas to allow the forest to regenerate.
This is the first step towards our future plans to allow the healthiest of our herd to one day live free roaming on fenced in, protected, forested land without the constant presence of humans. Our search for the perfect place where we can create this jungle sanctuary is ongoing.
The majority of us are blessed with the gift of sight. We take it for granted, without thinking how very lucky we are.
Imagine for a moment not being able to see, relying only on hearing and touch. Imagine being born blind, therefore not having any mental images stored for descriptive reference.
Imagine traveling to a foreign land, where your native tongue is not spoken and venturing to a place where elephants roam free and you can experience them up close, learning about them through touch.
Would you be afraid? Would you be excited?
For two years in a row we have had a very special group of teenagers from the Korean Art Association for the Blind who travel all the way from Korea to visit Elephant Nature Park, staying two days. They come from the Chungju Seongmo School for the Blind and their tour is titled “Touching an Elephant.” These students are training to be artists and are learning to ‘see by touch’ so that they can create works of art in various mediums.