Elephants galore!

by Luke, in Thailand
27th August, 2009

Meeting Lek at the elephant foundation was inspirational. Born in a Hill Tribe, she fell in love with elephants as a child and pledged her life to help them. With incredible determination and commitment she established the elephant foundation through decades of hard work and indomitable spirit. She had so many sad stories of elephants she has rescued but many have happy endings and it is very moving to hear how she has rehabilitated these great creatures from horrendous abuse. The visit ended with both her and me getting covered from head to toe in thick mud as two of the babies decided to roll around on the ground beside us and flick dirt everywhere. Thankfully it was only mud I was covered in for a change (the crew wisely retreated to a safe distance whilst all this was going on) so it washed off my face and arms fairly well and with a quick costume change I was good as new.
We then headed back to the FAE to help fit prosthesis on a 3 year old little elephant which had suffered a similar injury to the one we had seen yesterday. It almost seems this is a common occurrence there but these are the only two elephants with prosthesis in the world. The Prosthesis Foundation were there and had built the prosthetic for free. Because the youngster is still growing it will need to be changed every four months for the next 17 years! It was a joy to watch the elephant walk about the yard and it was a fairytale ending for the poor creature that really deserved some luck and TLC. Injured when just seven months old and whilst a calf at foot, her Mother was sent back to the logging camp to continue a life of abject hardship when the baby turned two. She is now three and although she will need to remain at the hospital for the rest of her life, at least she will be pain free and will be able to grow up without a twisted spine and in normal proportion with her false leg supporting her weight and allowing her to interact around her pen.
Finally back to the shelter –a very sad looking emergency case whose eye I think I will probably need to remove tomorrow and to re bandaged Magnum’s paw. I’m holding my breath – at the moment it looks okay so fingers crossed this one doesn’t breakdown.

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