Wassana an Elephant Story: From Lonely Slave To Freedom with a BFF
Original Story From July 2016
We would like you to meet “Wassana” an elephant that has worked in the tourism industry for over 40 years. She was rescued two days ago after a very successful fundraising party in Sydney two months ago. This poor old elephant arrived to the WFFT Elephant Refuge after undergoing a full health assessment at the camp prior to her departure from there.
Wassana was warmly greeted by many volunteers and our other rescued elephants alike. She had previously been in a Ratchaburi province based elephant tourism camp for the majority of her 45 years and suffers many physical and emotional scars as consequence to her mistreatment and countless, distressing hours serving the public.
A large abscess on her leg is very prominent as is the infection on her forehead which has been caused by open wounds through the use of a bullhook as well as her being malnourished, dehydrated and kept without access to basic hygiene. Throughout her time spent exploring her new home in our recently constructed recovery enclosure, Wassana continued to communicate with our other elephants with low rumbles and was contentedly receiving an array of trumpets, chirps and rumbles in return.
A dedicated team of staff and volunteers will assist to settle Wassana in to her new sanctuary, gradually introducing her to a suitable diet and treating all of her ailments. With her keen interest and interchanges with the other elephants, we endeavour to be able to acquaint Wassana with other rescued resident elephants in the Elephant Refuge.
This will give her the best chance of living out her years in a large, naturalistic environment alongside friends after so many years of confinement and chains.
Thank you to the Sydney group for helping Wassana!
Updated Oct 2016
Wassana, an Asian elephant, spent her life not being treated as an elephant, but as an object — a means to an end. She never knew the joy of growing up alongside her mother or learning what it means to be an elephant in a herd if shad been given the chance to do so in the wild.
"Elephants are incredibly social animals, however when they are kept in captivity for many years they are often kept alone and without the chance to interact with others as they would do in the wild," WFFT wrote on Facebook. "It's not always easy for elephants to make new friends after 40 to 50 years of solitude."
WFFT first tried pairing Wassana with Jele, a female senior elephant. Although the two had a promising start, in the end, Jele's confidence was too daunting for Wassana.
After giving Wassana more time to herself, WFFT introduced her to Nam Phon, a 55-year-old female elephant.
The two were allowed to spend time together in the same enclosure all day, though they were separated at night.
It soon became apparent that they were perfect for one another.
"With her gentler and more relaxed personality, Nam Phon proved to be a brilliant match for the shy Wassana," WFFT wrote. "These two recently rescued elephants are fast forming a very close friendship, which we hope will only grow stronger as time goes on and they can enjoy their retirement together."
Want to support Wassana and Nam Phon, and help WFFT rescue more elephants like them? You can make a donation here.
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