Mae Dta Keow
|Came to our herd:
|| Jan 2004
|| Logging and Trekking
||Nov 1965 - Aug 2012
Mae Dta Keow is a female born in 1965. She was rescued in January
2004. The funds were raised by Katherine Holden and friends, with large
donations by Bert Von Roemer, and Connie Speight.
Like many elephants, she has worked both in logging and trekking or
riding. Mae Dta Keow was a troubled elephant when she first arrived at
the Elephant Nature Park. Her last job was at a trekking camp, where she
ran into hard times. It seems she had a succession of cruel mahouts who
were quite “heavy handed” with her.
Mae Dta Keow is a classic example of the dangers in relying on
negative reinforcement to train and control elephants. Years of abuse
made her more and more resentful of humans. When she misbehaved, she
would be beaten, and after being beaten, her resentment would grow. This
negative cycle continued until finally reaching a terrible climax, with
Mae Dta Keow killing her mahout.
Her next mahout retaliated with more punishment. She was taken into
the forest, chained, deprived of food and water, and severely beaten.
She was physically and mentally weakened. Afterwards she reluctantly
returned to work, harboring an even deeper mistrust and dislike of
humans. It was not long before Mae Dta Keow injured some tourists. Only
now seen as a liability, her owner looked to sell her off.
Never to turn away an elephant in need, Lek and her staff welcomed
Mae Dta Keow to the Elephant Nature Park. Knowing of her history,
mahouts always take special care to watch Mae Dta Keow’s behaviour near
park guests, while at the same time warning visitors to keep their
distance. In accepting Mae Dta Keow, the park was taking on a hard case,
but with confidence that rehabilitation would be possible. All Mae Dta
Keow really needed was some love and understanding.
|On arrival Mae Dta Keow was noticeably
disturbed, with anti-social tendencies. For her first year at
the park she did not form any social bonds – very unusual for a
middle aged female elephant. It took time, and a lot of love and
care, but eventually she started to display signs of recovery.
Now Mae Dta Keow associates herself with baby Aura
and her mother Mae Boon. She has come a
long way emotionally since her arrival. She has less and less signs of
aggression, and with a little more time in a nurturing environment at
the Elephant Nature Park she may finally find peace.
29 Aug 2012
We are sad to report that Mae Dta Keow has passed away peacefully.
She was in the loving company of her best friends, Mintra and Jampaa,
along with our vets, Elephant Nature Park staff and volunteers. The
eight years she spent with us helped her heal and recover. She will be
missed by all.
Your kind words, love and support are much appreciated.