Saw an amazing film on TV recently called Elephant Whisperer. The elephant whisperer is Lek, a Thai woman who has spent her adult life saving Asian elephants from their wretched lives.
So far she has saved over 200 elephants who now live at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai.
When Lek was 5 years old she was given an elephant by her grandfather and her love for these magnificent animals grew from there.
There are only 1000 wild elephants left in Thailand. 2500 are in captivity. In the early 20th Century there were 100,000!
Elephants are one of the few animals to show a range of emotions. They can show joy, grief, playfulness, compassion and sel awareness and some are able to understand up to 250 vocal commands.
Feeding an elephant is a huge job as they consume 150kg food a day and drink 100-300L water a day. Many elephants today can be found in cities street begging and entertaining tourists. These are some of the elephants that Lek rescues. Because logging was banned in 1989 in Thailand, to protect habitat, the only legal work left for elephants is tourism. This is a mixed blessing as they are trained to do unnatural things for the tourists’ pleasure. 16 million tourists a year want to see an elephant.
Once she has saved an elephant they can live out the rest of their life safely and in good hands, as Lek says “To see them happy, my heart smiles”.