Traumatized Elephant Forced To Give Rides Can't Even Lie Down Anymore

Andrea A.
13/1/2017

Baan-Yen is a 50-year old elephant with a difficult past.

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Source : Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

She spent 20 years carrying tourists around and living in terrible conditions before being rescued by thePhuket Elephant Sanctuaryin Thailand. She was so weak upon arrival at the sanctuary that she had to be put onto an intravenous drip just to stay alive. According to sanctuary employees, she was forced to get pregnant and give birth regularly, causing terrible physical pain as well as mental trauma, reportsThe Dodo.

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Source : Lek Chailert

Baan-Yen was so depressed that, despite her newfound freedom, she remained terrified of humans. The sanctuary said:

We were told she had stopped lying down to sleep and was very tired. Along with veterinary care, we are also spending a lot of time talking to her and reassuring her as she seems deeply troubled, even depressed.
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Source : Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

But little by little, Baan-Yen started to realize that she was safe. Her saving grace came in the form of a friend. Dok Gaew is another old, tired and former enslaved elephant who would provide the exact type of support that Baan-Yen needed. The two were seen comforting and caressing each other with their trunks.

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Source : Lek Chailert

Thankfully, she now seems ready to leave her terrible past behind:

We couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present than to see Baan Yen starting to feel a little bit better.She is spending her days out on the top area of our forest land along with Gaew Ta, our blind elephant.
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Source : Lek Chailert

They continued explaining the emotional intelligence of these animals:

Elephants experience many emotions including sadness, depression, grieving deeply, they are compassionate and express love, joy, happiness, and have a deep understanding for one another.

For Baan-Yen, a miserable existence of carrying tourists on her back has come to an end. But many other elephants are not so lucky and have to endure that mistreatment all their lives. These few moments of "fun" while riding on an elephant's back might produce some good traveling photos, but in fact hide a dark, tragic reality for the animals.

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Source : National Geographic

Most of them are illegally captured in the wild at a very young age, and are then trained with cruel and strict methods to learn to walk and carry people on their backs. They also succumb to a practice called "Crushing" or "Phajaan" - this means separating a baby elephant from its spirit. Popular belief states that if an elephant is cruelly divorced from his wild spirit, he will become a tame creature and obey humans. It is an extremely brutal process and many elephants do not survive the trauma.

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Source : National Geographic

As is evident in Baan-Yen's behavioral patterns, elephants have a wonderful memory and are deeply affected by any trauma, abuse or exploitation by humans. Few tourists know about this harsh reality, and they elephant-walking industry is still going strong. Only a global awakening will change things and bring justice to the elephants.

H/t: The Dodo