RIP Mae Gaew
After spending 5 wonderful years enjoying her retirement, Mae Gaew passed away peacefully from old age in May 2012.
Rest in Peace…
A Fateful Meeting and a New Lease of Life
Fate intervened in February 2007 when she was found by Lek and thanks, in part, to donations from EleAid’s Trudy Broxap Memorial Fund, she was rescued and no longer has to work. She can live out the rest of her days as she pleases.
She is one of the easier elephants to identify as she has an ‘R’ branded on her right hip, from her days of logging in Burma. She also only has half a tail, an old injury caused by another elephant. She spends her days grazing for food and while she is a solitary elephant, she has settled in to her new life extremely well and we are very hopeful that she will soon make lifelong bonds with other elephants at the Park.
When she arrived, she had very dry skin which had begun to crack and was sore to the touch. She also had thick scabs on her forehead which will scar and be a permanent reminder of her previous abuse. Thanks to her new mahout and Lek’s care at the Elephant Nature Park, her skin is no longer dry and her scabs are well on the way to healing completely.
Despite her abuse at the hands of humans, she is still very trusting of people and has a very gentle nature. She is not at all nervous and likes nothing better than a bit of attention, especially if it’s to feed her bananas.
Trudy Broxap’s Memorial Fund has allowed her the chance to live out her days in peace and for that we want to say a very big thank you to everyone who has, and continues to, donate to this fund.
Back to Thailand
Unfortunately this was not the end of her work, despite her reaching 50, as she was sold to a trekking camp.
She was badly treated here as is proven by the scars on her head caused by abuse. She gave repeated rides to tourists seven days a week which would have been extremely monotonous and tiring. She worked long days and was chained up on a short chain every night with little food.
Life in Burma
It was at this time when she was sold to a family in Burma where she continued in the logging industry. She would have worked long days suffering in the heat with little rest. She remained in Burma for 15 years and was finally brought back to Thailand in 2005.
Mae Gaew’s Early Life
Little detail has been reported about Mae Gaew’s life as she spent many years in Burma. What is known is that she was born into a traditional Karen (northern Thai Hill tribe) village in 1956 and when she was old enough, was put to work in a logging camp close to her village. She worked long hours but was generally well looked after until the Thai government introduced a logging ban in 1989.