Elephants are majestic creatures, not meant to be confined to a life in chains. It’s heartbreaking to see them being paraded around like circus props. Thankfully, attitudes towards the treatment of elephants are starting to shift. Today, let’s focus on the positive and delve into Grandma Somboon’s incredible journey, even though it began in horror and cruelty.

Somboon, an 87-year-old elephant, was kidnapped from her natural habitat as a young calf and spent over 80 years enduring grueling labor in the logging and tourism sectors. Like countless other elephants, she was separated from her children and subjected to a life of performing in shows, begging on the streets, and being used for riding services.

Day after day, she toiled on her feet, carrying tourists and enduring long shifts when she should have been enjoying her freedom. The blame for this cruelty can be debated, but it’s crucial to acknowledge that the demand from tourists perpetuates this cycle of suffering.

Fortunately, when the Save Elephant Foundation in Thailand learned about Somboon’s plight, they knew they had to do everything in their power to save her.

“It’s time for Grandma to be cared for well and allowed to rest,” the rescue shared on Facebook in January. They embarked on a mission to protect Somboon and transport her to her final true home.

The organization succeeded in rescuing the neglected elephant and bringing her to the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary. However, her condition was far from okay. Somboon was emaciated, missing a tooth, and severely dehydrated. Her eyes were hazy, and her skin didn’t look healthy. But the most important thing was that she was finally safe.

Upon her arrival, most new elephants take weeks to lie down due to lingering paranoia and lack of trust. But Grandma Somboon defied the norm. Exhausted from her journey and a lifetime of hardship, she promptly sought the sand pile prepared for her and slept soundly amidst the bustling activities around her.

Having spent her entire life on her feet, it wasn’t surprising that the first thing Somboon wanted to do was lay down and rest. Elephants, particularly older ones with weak ankles, can’t endure sleeping with their feet tied to a short chain on a concrete floor.

When Somboon woke up, she faced the challenge of getting back on her feet after her long slumber. But eventually, with determination, she managed it! The rescue team was understandably uncertain about how well Somboon would adapt to her new environment. However, she has exceeded all expectations. Each rescued elephant at the sanctuary receives full care, including food, water, and comfortable sand beds.

While Somboon still requires care and attention for much of the day, she makes progress every day. She must feel an incredible sense of relief to be free from her heavy labor and to receive the respect she deserves.

As Somboon continues her journey of recovery at the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary, her story serves as a reminder of the resilience and spirit of these magnificent creatures. Despite the hardships she endured, Somboon has found solace and care in her new environment, where she can finally experience the freedom and peace she deserves.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Save Elephant Foundation and their work to improve the lives of vulnerable elephants, you can click here.