Traveling to a foreign country and riding an elephant might seem like a whimsical adventure to share when you return from vacation, but the unfortunate truth is that choosing to indulge in such an experience contributes to a very cruel industry.
In fact, Asian elephants (the kind one would meet and ride in Thailand) are now an endangered species. But because tourists look forward to experiencing a ride on a 9’ pachyderm through the jungle, the mammals are often illegally captured and sold into a form of slavery – all for the sake of profit.
Baby elephant MeBai, unfortunately, was one of the many forced into the elephant tourism industry. Taken from her mother, Mae Yui, and forced to give rides to tourists in Thailand as part of the country’s trekking industry, MeBai was subjected to a harsh reality.
She steadily lost weight until she eventually could not carry passengers anymore.
At that point, Elephant Nature Park stepped in. They rescued MeBai and put her into their “Pamper a Pachyderm” program. In this program, elephants are freed from slavery and allowed to do what they do best: roam freely, bathe in rivers, kick up dust, and bask in the comfort of other elephants.
But rescue wasn’t where the good ended for MeBai. The Park’s officials tracked down her mother, Mae Yui, at another elephant-ride business and talked the owners into retiring the aged beauty to their sanctuary.
After nearly four years apart, MeBai and her mother recognized each other right away. In the video by ENP (below), they can be seen nuzzling one another with their trucks and flapping their ears, apparently inseparable.
Such is no doubt testament to the strong bond between a mother and her child, as well as the sturdiness of an elephant’s memory.
When MeBai first arrived, she was uncertain of her new, unfamiliar surroundings. As could be expected, she also did not trust people. But after a period of comfort and kindness, she has begun to warm up to the tourists who visit and pet her.
Says a post on the ENP website: “MeBai was nervous and wary of people when she first arrived at the sanctuary. But she quickly learned that her new caretakers had no intention of abusing her in any way.”
Now that the two have been reunited, owners of the elephant ride business are efforting to help ENP rehabilitate both mother and child so they can return to the wild.
If you’d like to learn more about the elephant tourism industry, we highly recommend you watch this video to learn how baby elephants are often torn away from their mothers (in attempt to “break their spirit”) and view the FREE documentary “An Elephant Never Forgets” here.
Please also check out Elephant Nature Park’s website here and support the wonderful work Lek and other volunteers are doing.
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This article (Watch This Mama Elephant And Her Baby Reunite After Years Apart!) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.