Elephants, the largest land mammals on earth, have an intriguing emotional side to their might — they recognize their reflections in a mirror, grieve over the bodies of dead herd members and they never forget. For the many baby elephants in a Thailand sanctuary, who have forged a friendship with a staff member, it is no different.
Like all animals, elephants remember kindness bestowed upon them. Darrick, a staffer at Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, has formed a heartening bond with the resident elephants — particularly with a young calf named Kham La. All he has to do is call out her name and she comes running, along with her friends.
Every morning, Kham La and her friends run towards Darrick’s tractor to greet him, like happy puppies!
Darrick reaches out his hand to say good morning to the happy elephant(s). This happy sight is a daily occurrence at the Elephant Park.
Kham La was born at a trekking camp in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, to a working mom, Mae Sai Ngern. Taken from her mother, she was tortured so she would submit to human control, and then trained as a performing elephant. Thankfully she was rescued and sent to the sanctuary. Given the social nature of elephants, other nanny elephants are reportedly taking the youngster under their maternal care.
“From the first day Darrick showed love and kindness to their group, and it did not take long for them to love and accept him back.”Lek Chailert, Elephant Nature Park founder
Chailert said that the strong bond between the young elephants and their caretakers is partly due to the knowledge that they won’t be hurt.
Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Chang Mai province, northern Thailand. It offers a natural environment for rescued elephants, dogs, cats, buffalo, and other animals. Visitors can feed, walk with, and observe the elephants as they go about their day. It is welcoming to see that the park’s elephants don’t have to carry people on their backs, unlike at other preserves.