Following an appeal to raise money for a new elephant enclosure, our partners WFFT have now raised two thirds of the funds required for the purchase of 5 hectares of forest. However they still need around USD 45,000 to enable them to build fencing strong enough for a wild young elephant – otherwise known to our followers and sponsors as Khan Kluey! AAA will continue to raise money for this worthy cause, with a view to moving Khan Kluey into his new enclosure before the end of 2013, as he really does need more space and a more natural environment.
Eating More Greens
Wet season has just begun in Thailand, which means much more juicy grass for our elephants to eat. Unfortunately mango season has just finished, hence the elephants no longer have the luxury of mangoes falling straight from the trees into their enclosures! The ones fed to our gentle giants at this time of year are bought at the market.
It is currently high season for WFFT’s volunteer program, which means there are more people than usual looking after the elephants and their enclosures. This also means each elephant gets even more attention than usual, and many more playful enrichments.
Our most recent addition to the sanctuary, Nam Choke, was rescued from an elephant camp in February 2013. She was malnourished, underweight and covered in open wounds on her forehead from being hit with the bull hook. Because she was too weak to carry tourists, her owner was happy to relinquish her to WFFT who transported her to the rescue centre straight away.
She has settled in to life at the rescue centre quickly, and thoroughly enjoys the supply of fresh food throughout the day which she so desperately needs in order to regain the weight she lost whilst being starved at the elephant camp. Unfortunately she suffers from cataracts in both eyes as a result of the poor diet she has had over the years.
Nam Choke has such a gentle nature, which is becoming increasingly evident as she settles into her new home. She enjoys her daily walks, and happily allows the volunteers to help clean and shower her.
Nam Choke, and her fellow elephant See Puak are both desperately in need of sponsors. If you love elephants, why not consider adopting one of these gentle giants? Just $100 a year will make a huge difference, and will go directly towards improving their lives through providing a healthy diet, clean water, medical treatment and a safe home forever. Find out more here.
WFFT, supported by AAA, devotes a great deal of time, money and effort into providing enrichment programs to provide mental stimulation and challenges for the elephants. For example, staff hide a juicy piece of fruit in a small pack of hay, which is put into a bag and tied tightly. It might take an elephant upto 15 minutes to open the bag using a technique which involves smacking the bag to the floor, stepping on it with one foot whilst attempting to open it with their trunk, or trying to tear it open with their mouth. It keeps the elephants entertained, stimulates them mentally, and they get a fruit snack at the end of it!
The team at WFFT are also training Khan Kluey to respond to a series of simple commands, such as lifting his foot on cue. This enables our vet to more easily access his feet for regular check ups. He seems to enjoy the challenge, and picks things up very quickly - possibly due to the fact that he is only 8 years old, and a smart elephant at that!
The elephants also enjoy their grooming rituals - Boonmee loves to be scrubbed down under the shower, and newcomer Nam Choke happily allows the team to give her feet a "pedicure" to avoid cracks and growth in the skin. As you can see from the photos, she needs slightly more than a nail file for this job - it takes a hammer and chisel to even out an elephant's nails!