When someone no longer wants to care for their elephant, it is not uncommon to hear their elephant described as a young girl who may be pregnant to gain more value in the trade. AuengKham came to us with this story, and we could not confirm for a while if she was pregnant. More importantly, we have rescued this beautiful elephant from a life of work, so that one more elephant shall be free from fear and demeaning labor. The scars all over her body speak plainly enough. She deserves a better life.
The journey of AuengKham (เอื้องคำ) to Elephant Nature Park began on July 27, 2020, when we walked her to freedom over the mountain, away from a circus and elephant riding camp in Mae Taeng. Thanks go to Warattada “Meow” Pattarodom and her friends, who helped to take the saddle off Aueng Kham’s back, before we all walked home together.
Upon arrival, her first swim in the river was a sign of good days to come. Afterwards, we took her to the clinic, as AuengKham was suffering with a fungal skin infection. Our vet team treated her daily and today the infection is gone.
AuengKham is polite and easy mannered. Her new mahout, Zaw Bu Ki, would handpick her food to put directly into her mouth, so she knows he cares for her, and can trust him. He can help her to adjust to the environment at Elephant Nature Park and forget her traumatic past.
Even though they had just met each other, a beautiful friendship between AuengKham and HomNuan blossomed. They are very vocal with each other, which makes us smile. They talk to each other constantly, as if they had been apart for a long time and welcome the happy reunion.
No one can imagine the hard life that they both have passed through – to be taken from their mothers at a tender age and made to work and perform meaningless behaviors as is commonplace. It is clear that AuengKham and HomNuan are desperate for companionship and loving care as they both eagerly befriended RattanaKham on the night of her arrival.