Elephants from Thailand and other parts of Asia are often misused as beasts of burden, zoo attractions, and circus performers. Young animals are frequently separated from their mothers at an early age so the elephants can be trained more easily and become accustomed to human control more readily. This video tells a tale of one elephant that suffered this cruel separation but the story has a glorious happy ending.
The story is a tale of love and concern that seems almost human. Humans adopt lost or stray children and according to the record of this video so do elephants.
Mebai, an elephant from Thailand, was sold to a tourist attraction at an early age and separated from her mother. Mebai was immediately adopted by a female elephant named Mae Boon Sri at the same tourist attraction. Mae Boon Sri took on the responsibilities of nurturing and training Mebai as a surrogate mother.
Mebai was rescued from her imprisonment as a beast of burden by a group of people that operate an elephant sanctuary. Mebai’s new freedom was bitter sweet because she had to leave her “amah” behind. Amah is an Asian term for nanny.
The same sanctuary was able to negotiate the freedom of Mae Boon Sri and Mebai’s birth mother. Not only did Mebai immediately remember and recognize her mother but the mother and Mae Boon Sri formed an immediate friendship.
The reunion is truly remarkable. The memory between mother and daughter could be attributed to a memory of smell but recognition by appearance is doubtful due to the passage of time and the alteration of Mebai’s appearance and her mother’s appearance.
Even more startling is the immediate acceptance of the stranger Mae Boon Sri by the mother. One would think a mother would be overly protective of her offspring but the mother appears to know that the surrogate mother took care of her child while they were separated.
All three elephants embrace each other with their trunks and trumpet their happiness at being reunited in a safe and free-roaming new home. The animals behave just like people do when they find a lost child and the person that found their lost child.
Elephants and their children normally live together in the same group for their entire life. Apparently time and distance have nothing to do with memory of family.
This is one of those heartwarming and stunning animal videos that you just have to share. It is really stunning how much the elephants behave like people. The video is also a reminder that the number of elephants in the world is dwindling and that a few people that provide sanctuaries for animals that have been abused truly are making an exceptional difference in the world.