Mae Tee stays determined
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.
She is enjoying fleeting interactive moments with Dok Mai, Dok Ngern and the other sociable members of that extended family group. She sometimes has pushing matches with Chang Yim.
Mae Tee arrived to Elephant Nature Park just over four years ago in very poor condition. Because of the abuses and maltreatment she suffered in her past, Mae Tee has stiff front wrists and deteriorating ankle joints. She does not lay down to sleep at night because her joints are too stiff and weak to support lifting her weight back up. She is ALWAYS on her feet — they never get a rest. Mae Tee has spent much of her time here at and around our elephant clinic. Soon after her arrival, abscesses erupted on her back feet and later, on her front feet as well.
We call upon CMU Wildlife Specialist Veterinary team to oversee any issues that require their expertise. They assess the problem and give us a treatment plan to follow. We have park veterinarians, staff and veterinarian volunteers who carry out the prescribed procedures. If we are unsure of anything, we consult the CMU team.
We could have taken Mae Tee to the elephant hospital at Lampang. Because it is a government run facility the care is free, but we felt that the four-hour ride to the hospital would be too stressful for Mae Tee. Instead, we choose to employ the services of the CMU veterinarians, because they will come to the park to treat our elephants in the enviornment where they feel the most comfortable.
In the west, an elephant in Mae Tee’s condition would very likely have been euthanized by now. Because of the Buddhist morals here in Thailand, there is much to be considered before euthanasia. No one will put down an elephant if they are still standing. From our daily observations of Mae Tee, it is very obvious that she has a strong will to live and get what she can out of life. In fact, Mae Tee has surprised even us. Last October, she lost her best friend who was a bit younger. We felt that Mae Tee might just give up after losing her constant companion of more than three years, but she was determined to keep going. It now seems that her friend might have been holding her back, as she is more active than ever.
Over the past year-and-a-half, the condition of Mae Tee’s feet has improved greatly.
Mae Tee receives daily care which includes foot soaks and twice-a-day cleanings. Mae Tee is allowed to roam freely in between treatments and travels quite far from the medical center at a slow but steady pace.
She enjoys mud baths and engaging with some of the younger elephants who reside at ENP.
There will come a time when Mae Tee’s issues will become more than she can bear, despite constant care. Her age and aches and pains will catch up with her and she will lie down. We will know when it is time to let her go and we will not hesitate to do what is best for her.
But for now, Mae Tee is going strong! She has made it clear to us that she has much more to do before her time is finished!