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.