|He kept hitting his head against the side of a narrow cage. His skin was riddled with parasites and he was in a very sorry state. We offered milk but he would not accept it nor any other comforts from our team.
|The next morning the owner of this bedraggled orphaned baby elephant came to talk and asked us to take care of this baby as he still needed to drink purchased milk which he told us his family cannot afford. The cost of looking after the baby was beyond them. He had liver-worm and parasites infested his blood. These were the conditions that had killed his mother. He was not given much chance of survival.We moved him to a new home and gave him the name “Hope”. From the first moment of his arrival he tried to be friendly with Ging Mai, an orphaned baby elephant, already under our care, but Ging Mai did not want to know him and turned away each time Hope approached.
||Lek tried hard to make Hope accept milk from her, but he knocked against her, pushing attempting to hurt her many times. He chased the visiting elephant volunteers around the pen trying to knock them down and tried to kick out or vigorously swing his trunk at anyone who came close to him. He was nervous the first three nights and could not sleep at all. He kept everyone else awake trumpeting over and over throughout the night. The fourth night he fell into a sleep and Lek used this opportunity to get close, patting and comforting him. When he would wake up she ran from his pen. She did this every night until finally Hope accepted her. He awoke and slowly opened his eyes then silently tiptoed over to see Lek. She sat beside him and he sat wearily down. He kept laying down letting her pat him and was soon fast asleep again. Lek knew that he had accepted her and released him out of the pen early next morning to walk with him and the volunteers. Hope walked over to join Ging Mai in the surrounding jungle. He showed lots of things to little Ging Mai and shared his experiences while he was with his mother. Ging Mai copied his foot steps and newly learned antics. They enjoy mud bathing and swimming together and Hope brought real elephant experiences to teach his younger sheltered friend.The volunteers were made to work hard all the time, preparing milk, trekking with them and, at night, putting the exhausted playmates to bed. They now had 24 hour care as the volunteers took shifts during the night to answer calls for milk. Hope always showed to every one how different he was from Ging Mai. He is so confident and naughty and this contrasts greatly to Ging Mai’s gentleness and shy demeanour. Hope is continually playful and likes to smash everything in front of him. Both orphans loved their time together and never left each others side day or night.After Hope had been with us for eight months, his owner came to take him back. He was to be trained for work. Lek told him that the youngster still needs milk and cannot let him go back. The more Hope stayed with her the more she loved him and she really couldn’t let him go back to cruel training and arduous work. With the help and kind support from Jody Thomas (USA) and Leonor Gonzo (Australia) Hope won his freedom to stay with us. These kind volunteers became Hope’s foster parents after helping to buy his freedom.After the untimely death of Ging Mai, Hope stopped drinking and taking food. He was totally devastated and kept calling out for his young friend. He used his trunk to smell and looked all over the area for his little brother. Finally we had to move him to another place. It was just too sad to see this devastated boy stay in this land surrounded by painful memories and sadness.
For the safety of the two remaining babies Lek decided to move Hope and Jabu to another house in a remote location. They became firm friends and played relentlessly. A few months later he was moved again and found a permanent home.
Hope today is happy in his new home with his adoptive mothers at the Elephant Haven. Thanks for all the volunteers who gave Hope the chance to live and for helping us take care of him. As his name suggests, he is our Hope and we will see him grow up as a free elephant and a real king of the jungle.