Today 19 July 2018, Kanjana, the newly rescued elephant from Pai, finally experiences freedom in the sanctuary of Elephant Nature Park, the place she can call home for ever.
These words are taken from a facebook post made by Save Elephant Foundation and Elephant Nature Park founder Lek Chailert the day after the rescue as she reflects on the final rescue of Kanjana:
Another life has been set free from work today. Her story has been known to us for some time now. More than 10 years ago, i met her and learned her story. We have tried to help her since that day, but the owner would not release her and she continued to carry tourists for many years since, even though I followed her with interest every year. A couple of years ago, Khun Nuna and i tried to win the heart of the owner to set her free but still the answer was no. A friend (Edith from Holland), before she passed away, would let me know about this poor girl who needed to be released from her burdens. Last week we heard that a trekking camp from the south came to talk to the owner and was going to buy her to work in the camp . Our team went to negotiate immediately.
Kanjana had both hind legs injured when she was young. Born captive, her mother worked in a logging camp. After work, the mahout would let the mother and child out to walk in the jungle. The mother would drag a chain while her baby walked free. During a walk, the young Kanjana fell into a hole after a fire had just burned the forest. Hot coals were still in the hole. She tried to escape, and witnesses say that her mother tried to help. Not until people noticed was she able to get out. Both back legs were badly burned and her right ankle broken. Though handicapped she still spent twenty years pulling logs until she was sold, and the last 20 years she has carried tourists.
As of yesterday, her work days are over. She is free to be an elephant now.