This Traumatized Elephant Hadn’t Slept For An Entire Week – But Then She Found A New Bosom Buddy

Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

The elephant tourism industry in Southeast Asia is killing elephants. After all, in order to supply the demand for elephant treks and circus tricks, people often take the animals from their jungle homes and enslave and abuse them.

Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Take the recent rescue of Baan Yen, a 50-year-old elephant who had been badly abused at her previous home. When the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary from Thailand found her, she was in desperate need of medical attention.

Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

And we know some of what she went through. According to the Phuket Sanctuary, Baan Yen had been working at a camp for over 20 years. Sadly, the conditions there must have been harsh, as they’d taken a heavy toll on her body.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

So, when the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary reached her, she was clearly on her last legs. In fact, a vet attending the rescue reported that, based on her signs of depression, Baan Yen must not have slept for about a week.

Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Thus, Baan Yen must have suffered extensively at her old home. For example, it seemed that her owners had forced her to breed for several years with a bull elephant. As a result, by the time she was rescued, Baan Yen even feared her own kind.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Thankfully, the intervention from the sanctuary was vital in saving her. But even as Baan Yen reached the sanctuary, she was desperately unwell. In fact, sanctuary staff reported that she was still “weak and dehydrated” days after she arrived.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

So, in order to save her life, the staff gave Baan Yen an exhaustive series of treatments. Indeed, after eight days of barely any change, the vet had her on IV drips, anti-inflammatory medication and vitamin supplements.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

But her caregivers noticed something beyond her physical injuries. “As well as being physically weak, there is a deep sadness about Baan Yen’s entire demeanor. We are still trying to find out what exactly happened,” the sanctuary staff reported on December 21, 2016. “It is something we all feel, including the vet.”

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Thankfully, though, she began to recover. And eventually Baan Yen explored the sanctuary, tentatively meeting its other four elephants and spraying herself with mud. Interestingly, this last act helps elephants protect themselves from the sun and insects.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Unfortunately, Baan Yen still suffered from the psychological abuse that she had faced at her previous home. And it was a problem that the keepers were helpless to confront; they couldn’t communicate with her, much less comfort her.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Then something changed. Yes, as Baan Yen adjusted to her new surroundings and made friends, one of the other elephants did something amazing. And luckily for us, the keepers witnessed and captured the incredible moment.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

In these photos, another elephant has wrapped her trunk around Baan Yen, like an arm over her shoulder. The elephant is 60-year-old Dok Gaew, who also came to the sanctuary as an animal on the brink of death.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Perhaps, then, they were commiserating each other. After all, Dok Gaew was also seriously ill when she arrived at the sanctuary. Indeed, she had been so badly treated that she was too weak to even step onto the truck, according to one of the keepers at the park.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

When Dok Gaew arrived on December 10, 2016, she also had a number of wounds, including a deep gash in her elbow. In fact, she was initially too weak to be moved to the sanctuary. Therefore, she had emergency veterinary work done before she could be rescued.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Since meeting Dok Gaew, then, Baan Yen has flourished in her new environment. Yes, photos from the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary show Baan Yen socializing with the other rescued elephants and exploring her newfound garden.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Many hope that other elephants get the same respectful treatment. After all, the tourism industry in Southeast Asia, not just Thailand, has been deadly to Asian elephants. Indeed, sometimes people steal the elephants from their families and badly abuse them in the name of entertainment.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Elephant trekking is especially deadly; the animals have been known to die from exhaustion and overwork. And sometimes, when officials investigate these deaths, the elephants can be found still chained to their posts.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Sadly, the owners often separate trekking elephants from other elephants, and the animals receive little to no care if they fall ill. Plus, trainers in these countries cruelly mistreat the elephants prior to getting them to carry people. As the World Animal Protection reported, “Isolation, starving, hitting and beating are just some of the methods used.”

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

This is why elephant sanctuaries like the Phuket facility are important. They help establish a culture of elephant-friendly tourism. Moreover, elephants that staff have rescued from circuses or “trekking experiences” can now lead happier lives.

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Image: Facebook/Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

This was the case for Baan Yen and her newfound friend, Dok Gaew. Both elephants are hopefully much happier now that their awful past is behind them. Thankfully, now they will be able to lead more relaxed lives in their golden years.

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