Elephant Updates - June 2017
Dao Rueng is still living happily with her best friend Boon Chuey. The two ladies have been adjusting nicely to their new larger enclosure, and are now feeling quite at home.
Our gentle giant Dao Rueng particularly loves to spend the mornings and afternoons playing and splashing in her larger lake, while her sassy friend Boon Chuey watches over her from the dry and. On very hot days the two ladies can be found standing side by side in their gazebo, happily napping together in the shade.
Boon Chuey is still living happily with her best friend Dao Rueng. Next to their new enclosure is a piece of undeveloped forest, which the two ladies now get to explore everyday. Their volunteering team chops pineapple, corn, watermelons and papaya into buckets of bite sized pieces in preparation for their walk. They then use these buckets as positive reinforcement to guide the two ladies down the road to the entrance of the new piece of forest. Speedy Boon Chuey gets to the forest first, with Dao Rueng her friend ambling along behind slowly but steadily. Together they explore the shady patch of trees, enjoying the daily change of scenery.
Boon Mee is a particularly food motivated elephant. At the moment she is thoroughly enjoying the mangos and jackfruit which are in season, snacking on them as they fall and roll into her enclosure.
Her volunteers have been careful to collect a portion of the fruit from the ground each day, to prevent her from over-eating and developing bloat. Having too much fruit available is a great problem for an elephant to have!
Pai Lin continues to be WFFT’s oldest elephant and despite a case of arthritis, she remains in excellent health. Pai Lin is an avid swimmer, and has recently decided that during her morning walks she enjoys swimming in the large lake across the road from the WFFT center. Her volunteers often take her for exercise to keep her joints active, however during the hot season even an early morning walk is too warm for her, and she will occasionally decide to plunge into the water to cool herself off.
Rhung Thip is turning into quite the sassy old lady as she settles fully into retirement. She is now living in one of our most densely forested enclosures with plenty of privacy. Though usually cranky with most people and most elephants, she is particularly fond of one of WFFT’s younger elephants Wassana. These two now live together in their large forested enclosure.
Rhung Thip’s arthritis in her front legs continues to restrict her movements, causing her to walk very slowly. However, she spends her time slowly exploring her forest, creating new paths through the trees and finding enrichments hidden in the treetops by WFFT’s volunteers.
Duen Phen is still happily living in WFFT’s wildest, largest elephant enclosure with her two friends See Puak and Nam Phon. Duen Phen is the most submissive of the three, and will follow along behind the other two ladies at a bit of a distance. While See Puak and Nam Phon are quite curious about human visitors at the enclosure, Duen Phen sometimes prefers to be by herself. Because these ladies have so much space to roam, whenever Duen Phen is feeling shy she is able to stay hidden in the trees away from people and the other elephants.
Nam Phon is still happily living in WFFT’s wildest, largest elephant enclosure with her two friends See Puak and Duen Phen. Nam Phon spends her days following closely behind See Puak, the leader of their herd. These two are always exploring their 3 hectares of forest or swimming in their two ponds. Nam Phon love to use her trunk as a snorkel as she plunges completely under water to cool off.
This month the lovely See Puak is celebrating her 6 year anniversary at Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand! On April 21st 2011 See Puak was rescued from an elephant camp in the province of Surin, where she was exploited and abused for tourist gratification and entertainment.
See Puak continues to enjoy her retirement from the tourism industry, roaming freely in WFFT’s largest elephant enclosure with her two friends Nam Fon and Duen Phen. See Puak will spend her remaining years in retirement at WFFT, enjoying a peaceful life free from the demands of human beings.
Kaew Petch in her little herd of four is now living in an expanded enclosure with her friends La Ong Dao, Pun and her calf Pin. These four ladies have even more room to roam, and a variety of habitat to explore including open grassy fields and forested areas. The new trees in their enclosure provide shade and act as scratching posts for the elephants.
When Kaew Petch first arrived at WFFT she had difficulty using her trunk, as she had always been fed directly into her mouth. Now, she happily showers herself with water and mud from her lake without issue. She is also able to pass along her newfound knowledge to young Pin as she gets the opportunity to help raise a calf.
La Ong Dao
La Ong Dao is still the matriarch of her happy little herd. She is now living in an expanded enclosure with her friends Kaew Petch, Pun and her calf Pin. WFFT has been trying to introduce another elephant - Jele - into this herd, as Jele and the young calf Pin are very interested in playing and spending time with each other.
Unfortunately, La Ong Dao is extremely protective over the baby Pin, and is hesitant to allow another elephant into the group. WFFT has Jele and La Ong Dao’s herd living next door to each other, in the hopes that they will one day learn to get along.
When Khan Kluey first arrived at Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand he was a young, traumatized calf with understandably poor manners. Over the years he has grown big and strong under the careful watch of his surrogate mother Somboon and the WFFT team. He now resides in a specialized concrete enclosure, where no humans come in contact with him.
Because of Khan Kluey’s young age and his history, he is extremely aggressive and dangerous. His teams continue to create enrichments which will provide him entertainment without risking the safety of our staff and volunteers.
Somboon is still living happily with her adopted son Khan Kluey, who is continuing to grow big and strong alongside her. We ensure the young bull and his mother get plenty of privacy from humans except for during feeding time.
Somboon particularly enjoys when her volunteers make banana balls. These balls are a combination of mushed bananas, bran and hay pellets rolled together, occasionally with salt and tamarind to aid digestion. When Somboon requires vitamins or medications her volunteers are able to hide them inside of the banana ball mixture, keeping her healthy and happy.
Khao Khun [based at WFFT Laos Sanctuary]
Khao Khun is enjoying her life at the WFFT Laos rescue center, and particularly enjoys her daily walk from her night den out to the huge open expanse behind the center. She is left out there to wander during the day, where she is free from human contact, and is able to graze in the foliage and swim in the lake at her leisure.
At the end of the day when she is brought back to her night den, enrichments are waiting for her. Her favorite enrichment at the moment is an ice treat, which is a large block of fruit frozen in water. Khao Khun always gets excited when she sees the ice treat, flapping her ears happily.
Thailand Updates - March 2017
A girl has to have her toys!!!
Wildlife Friends for Thailand [WFFT] wonderful and dedicated volunteers have been incredibly busy fixing up and refurbishing the elephant enclosures as a little rain has begun to fall and and grace the grounds with a sprinkling of green. Hours of baking sun is allowing the freshly reforested trees to flourish and the concrete to set, making way for a more exciting home for WFFT rescued residents!
Most notably and clearly a new favourite with Jele, one of the older rescued elephants is her deep tube feeder. Easily constructed with a concrete pipe, lots of shovels, cement and a few pebbles for decoration, these new enrichment toys encourage the elephants to dig and stretch their trucks down into the space for a food reward. Jele has been observed testing these feeders, detecting the scents of the fruits hidden within, intelligently measuring the exercise that needs to be completed in order to gain the food before her and then continuing to spend long moments exploring these new food providers.
Traditional grass feeders have also been erected throughout Jele’s enclosure; emulating a normal grass plantation however making the grasping of
the leaves much harder and therefore challenging for the elephants. WFFT aspires to enhance the lives of their elephants on a daily basis and provide them with an entertaining and close to natural environment which encourages wild behaviour. Look at Jele doing just that!
Elephant Updates - December 2016
After Nam Fon’s rescue which was in very poor health she has made many friends around the rescue centre but has not found an elephant to settle with as she also hugely enjoys her own company. Due to many strenuous and hellish years spent being exploited for the tourism industry, Nam Fon suffers from one completely lame leg which causes her exhaustion from having to put all of her weight across just three legs - with an elephant, this is a lot of weight! Sadly this has lead to a deterioration in this old ladies health but definitely not her happiness. As always, Nam Fon remains relaxed and continues to dust herself with mud and throws water as she explores and wanders around.
As a rescue centre our christmas wish is to secure a new piece of land that has just gone up for sale and we are currently fundraising to help expand the rescue centre. This piece of land will allow us to rescue and house up to 40 new elephants in need of our help. Nam Fon has been recently testing the land for us and exploring the new area in search for her favorite spot. The new piece of land is a hugely exciting opportunity for us as we hope to construct a multi species enclosure allowing our animals to live as close to a wild environment as possible as well as giving our young herd the freedom to grow and populate with more members formed by other rescue elephants leading for baby Pin to have a close to natural life.
Rung Thip and Wassana have formed a very close bond after having spent so many of their years being exploited as trekking elephants. As a very food orientated elephant, Wassana enjoys walks with our volunteering team through the forest to our NewLands area often taking up to a couple of hours each day. Wassana uses this opportunity to forage, feasting on our banana tree plantations and sneaking an occasional papaya and clumps of grass on her adventures. Without the facilities to shower at her will in the tourism industry, Wassana hugely enjoys to pick up and spray water all over herself to keep cool, whilst taking a break to drink the fresh and cool water before beginning to spray again.
Rung Thip prefers to explore her enclosure and is slowly breaking down more and more of the natural forest area. She now has her friend Wassana and the two are often seen interacting with one another and also their fast forming acquaintance, baby Pin in the adjoining enclosure to them.
These two ladies have slowly started introducing another of our rescues; Jele into their friendship to form a small herd of three elephants. Jele is a hugely excitable lady who has always only wanted elephant companions so these new bonds that she are forming are wonderful to see. As a very weak elephant upon arrival Jele is now one of our healthiest elephants and we hope with further interactions, all three of these ladies may be able to join Pin, Pun, La Ong Dao and Kaew Petch in the new enclosure that is currently being constructed.
Boonmee has recently celebrated her 55th birthday here at the Wildlife Friends Foundation and continues to be amongst the favorites with our volunteers. Her walks through the forest have turned into meeting other species around the rescue centre and she finds particular interest in our two rescued orangutans as well as the spectacled langurs that run above her in tunnels. During her twice daily walk Boonmee chooses only her favorite pieces of fruit - mainly pineapple! and throws away all of the others- keeping the volunteers busy picking up after her throughout her enclosure and walking route. Boonmee’s most preferred season is fast approaching and soon the mangoes will begin to fall from the tree. We expect Boonmee to have excessive weight gain during this time as previous years have proved her real love for this fruit meaning she will be enjoying even more intense walks frequently throughout the day!
Dao Rueng and Boon Chuey
As the sun shines and the rain slowly ceases to fall, Dao Rueng and Boon Chuey find time to cool off in their pool Always a lover of swimming, Dao Rueng can be found submerged in the water for hours on end whilst Boon Chuey just comes by to check on her friend and occasionally spray herself with the fresh water. With new neighbors moving in next door, we have seen keen interaction throughout the day time between both these ladies and Wassana, another elephant who was rescued in July 2016. With the rain having allowed the local forest to flourish, our two elephants are taken into the forest on a daily adventure and spend a few hours in the afternoon sun peacefully foraging and communicating with each other through low rumbles and gentle trunk touches.
La Ong Dao, Kaew Petch, Pin and Pun
Our little herd are having a very exciting few months with even more prospects to enrich their lives on the arrival. Little Pin celebrated her 2nd birthday along with her mother and two aunties during mid November with a selection of sugar cane, a huge array of fruit and and an elephants favorite- grass! In Thai culture they believe that you add an additional candle to a birthday cake to wish the birthday girl another year of happiness and beauty - Pin was hugely excited to see her third sugar cane ‘candle’ and gobble it down. As our family continue to bond and little Pin grows evermore, our other rescued elephants are becoming more and more interested in the herd with Pin making friends with all of her neighbors. We are currently constructing a large open enclosure for these ladies with forested land and two large open watering holes so they continue to splash around and have fun in their pool. This additional space will allow them to further make more friends and possibly to extend the herd giving Pin even more grandparents to play with and Pun more time to relax and enjoy herself. We hope to see the construction of the new enclosure completed by Christmas and move these beautiful ladies in as an early present!
Somboon and Khan Kluey
Khan Kluey is becoming visibly larger and much stronger as he proves to us each time we think that we have created an extremely challenging enrichment for him. Ropes, chains, logs and tyres are no match for his strength and intelligence but do provide mental stimulation and fun whilst he works out the puzzle.
Somboon and Khan Kluey are still paired with one another and enjoying each others company with Khan Kluey just posing a small threat to Somboons additional edible treats! her knowledge of his cheeky behavior ensures that she gets to keep most of them to enjoy to herself without sharing.
Reforestation has begun to take place around the outside of their enclosure allowing large trees to provide shelter from the sunlight and smaller trees to be planted inside their enclosure once ready. We look forward to seeing our bull elephant continue to grow as a very handsome male alongside his adopted mother and for them to continue to entertain each other.
Duen Phen, Nam Phon and See Puak
Living in the wild enclosure means that these three ladies are not often seen, as in the wild the trees cover their tracks and offer them protection from the sun - the only sign of them is the noise of tree being cracked down in the distance.
Each morning, these three ladies are called together to receive their breakfast banana balls and come tumbling through the forest trails ready for their first feast of the day. Throughout the rest of the day, they can be spotted with tails swinging, giving themselves mud baths, enjoying the sunshine and foraging for food. During the heat of the day, we encourage the elephants to swim in their lake to cool them down as this is not in their nature due to not having the facilities to shower or bathe before they were rescued from the tourism industry.
Although Duen Phen does not enjoy to swim so much she receives a personal shower with a hosepipe whilst both See Puak and Nam Phon love to swim and dive under the waters surface, splashing around and finishing off with a very muddy spray to help keep them cool for the rest of the day before hearing back into the foliage.
As our oldest elephant in the rescue centre, Pai Lin continues to amaze us with her strength and beautifully sassy personality. Her morning walks which are supposed to help encourage movement in her older limbs and a little exercise are designed to last only 30 minutes but with Pai Lin in charge these often last up to 2-3 hours! If a tasty tree is found en route of the walk, Pai Lin will continue to snack until the tree is free of all of it leaves, even though she normally starts the walk by stealing a giant bunch of ripening bananas from the outskirts of a neighboring enclosure!
In between walks, Pai Lin spends her time scratching herself around the trees and dusting herself with mud and water. Most trees in her enclosure are now smooth around elephant rubbing level due to such vigorous use and the volunteering team have kindly coated the trees in rope to provide Pai Lin a more robust scratching post. Volunteers often will also find Pai Lin wearing a new trendy forest outfit which she has fashioned from her food - her head and back being covered in enrichment bags, corn husks and large clumps of grass and sprinkled with a heavy coating of mud and dust. Along with the rope, volunteers have placed new and exciting behavioral enrichments into her enclosure which have been a huge hit with Pai Lin and have been keeping her occupied, looking for tasty treats hidden amongst the structure.
Elephant Updates - March 2017
New enclosure for Pin and her family
The latest new enclosure for elephants has just been completed at the WFFT Elephant Refuge - Thailand. We have created a new large area for Pin’s herd tripling the size of their current habitat. Pin is joined by her mother Pun and aunts, La Ong Dao and Kaew Petch as they explore their beautiful new home!
This huge space is already allowing our rescued ladies to showcase their inspiring maternal instincts as they gather around little Pin and even have to assist her out of the water on occasion due to the steep banks at the side of their expansive lake.
Every afternoon, loud trumpets of joy can be heard amongst the splashing sounds of trunks hitting the water as our elephants cool off in the hottest parts of the day. Pin still hasn't quite learnt her full trumpet but her mother and little adopted family are doing a remarkable job of raising this gorgeous young calf. It’s wonderful to see that Pin’s environment is growing in accordance to her ever blossoming personality and we hope these ladies have a huge amount of fun in their new space!
Animal Aid Abroad is proud to support these elephants through our Sponsorship program. Thanks to all our sponsors who help to provide Pin and her family [including adopted family] a much kinder and happier home.
Elephant Updates - July 2016
Jele and Nam Fon
Old beauties Nam Phon and Jele have been forging a very strong bond over the past few months, they now live together and spend all of their time playing with one another, enjoying their new lives at WFFT.
Pin, Pun, La Ong dao and Kaew Petch
Our little family of elephants, Pin and mummy Pun, and aunties La Ong Dao and Kaew Petch have been having fun exploring their neighboring enclosure while we plant new large trees within their own enclosure. We have been doing some upgrades throughout the WFFT Elephant Refuge over the past few weeks with volunteers and staff working hard planting new large trees to create shade and new enrichments for our ele residents.
See Puak, Duenphen and Nam Phon
Some of our rescued pachyderm residents, Duen Phen, Nam Fon, and See Puak in our wild enclosure. These girls spend their days and nights chain free doing what they want to do, roaming their large forested enclosure.
Somboon and Khan Kluey
Enriching the lives of the rescued animals at WFFT can often be challenging but is rather rewarding. The staff and volunteers try to create and implement many different behavioral and environmental enrichments to keep our animals occupied, healthy and happy. A team of staff and volunteers worked hard making a new toy for our young bull elephant, Khan Kluey, and his enclosure buddy, Somboon. We gave it to them, as you can see from the pictures they loved it, particularly Khan Kluey.
We would like you to meet "Wassana" an elephant that has worked in the tourism industry for over 40 years. She was rescued mid this month after a very succesful fundraising party in Sydney two months ago. This poor old elephant arrived to the WFFT Elephant Refuge after undergoing a full health assessment at the camp prior to her departure from there.
Pai Lin continues to enjoy having her enclosure all to herself and spends most of her time wallowing around in the large natural swimming pool in a tucked away corner of her enclosure. She has recently been introduced to new and more challenging enrichments and although she is our oldest elephant she still shows her utmost intelligence in solving the problems created in order for a food reward inside.
Chok Dee and Rung Thip
Chok Dee, one of our more rounded elephants has started to be introduced to a new routine which involves daily walks to help encourage her to do more exercise and ensure she remains at a healthy weight. We have noticed that Chok Dee is a huge lover of human children and really enjoys their company if walking with our day visitors.
Recently Boonmee fell sick with an inflammation in her mouth meaning that she was too uncomfortable to eat or drink which is very unlike Boonmee who usually has a very strong appetite. Due to this Boonmee spent a few days in our hospital but she has now recovered after our dedicated team offered her 24/7 care. We are all extremely happy to see her wandering around her enclosure again.
Boon Chuey and Dao Rueng
We have recently increased the amount of grass that we offer the elephants in their daily diet so this means that the grass delivery man has to visit our rescue centre twice a week! Boon Chuey and Dao Rueng have the most fun during the delivery and chase the truck along the length of their enclosure trumpeting loudly with excitement.