|Came to our herd:
||12 March 1995
On 27th February 2009 Elephant Nature Park welcomed a new arrival.
Her name is Mintra and she was thought to be born in the year 1995. She
has a handicap similar to Medo's with the same sloping back and similar
limping walk. At some point in the past, her hips have been damaged in
some way, though we are not sure exactly how. We know that when Mintra
was approximately 4 years old, she was hit by a car while street
begging, and think it is possible that she could have gotten an initial
injury when she was a baby, following along behind her mother who
probably was an illegal logging elephant in Mae Hong Son, where Mintra
|Mintra's last job, and what she has done for most of her life,
was street begging. She was working at the Siam Square super
shopping plaza in Bangkok. Lek found out about her from many
letters, phone calls and emails from visitors and volunteers on
their way to and from Elephant Nature Park, passing through
Bangkok who would see her begging in this busy area. All who saw
her felt so sad for this young, handicapped elephant forced to
spend her days breathing the smog and exhaust fumes and exposed
to all of the noise and chaos that a big city has to offer.
Sadly, her owner didn't have any other choice, as there was no
other way to earn a living with an elephant in her condition.
When Lek contacted the owner to see if he was interested in selling
her, he told Lek that he was, but he also had another interested buyer.
In the end the owner chose to sell to Lek as he liked the idea of Mintra
getting to spend the rest of her life in a sanctuary, where she could
roam freely and socialize. And socialize she is doing! She immediately
fell right in with the Mae Tong Dee/Tong Tae family group and Malai Tong
really fell in love with her and declared herself "big sister auntie."
We later found out the reason Mintra and Malai Tong got on so well is
that when Malai Tong was street begging in Bangkok, she was in an area
close to where Mintra was working. The two girls had met and become
friends during this time. Possibly when they weren't working they may
have shared the same vacant lot or underpass. What a lovely reunion for
them here at Elephant Nature Park.
Malai Tong are spending less time with the rest of the family group,
though they get along with them well. Dok Ngern also really enjoys their
company and when the three of them get together, there is a lot of
trumpeting and bellowing. Tong Daeng really likes Mintra and tries to
engage her in wrestling sessions. Sometimes she humors him and pushes
back for a bit. Mintra gets a positive reaction from everyone that she
encounters socially from Tong Jan and Faa Sai to Mae Lanna and Medo,
whom she shares a shelter with at lunchtime. She is irresistibly cute,
full of personality and isn't afraid to express herself. It is so hard
to imagine her having to spend her days pounding the pavements with no
friends to socialize with, but now, she is making up for lost time.
Special thanks to Darrick Thomson, Mintra is a permanent resident of
Elephant Nature Park and she never has to worry about having to return
to a life of exploitation. For the rest of her days she can enjoy
freedom, family, food and fun with her many new (and old!) ele-friends
* Records and official documentation
of elephants of more than 10 years ago are sketchy at best. The dates we
use are our best estimates.