Although she is officially 46 years old (as of 2022), her outward appearance and slow and steady gait suggest she may be closer to 60 years. Mashaw is typical of many elephants who have spent a large proportion of their life working in the logging trade. In fact, when she moved to our sanctuary from the Myanmar/Thailand border region in 2018, she had never seen a foreigner or a banana!
Kapa’s story is a little different. Estimated to be about 65 years old, she has spent most of her life working in the nearby communities involving some logging, but mainly tourist related activities. Unfortunately, this was not always a happy time for Kapa as she was passed between several mahouts and exposed to some undesirable practices such as tourist chair riding. During this period, she also conceived on five occasions: her first baby drowned; her second perished in a mountain accident; the third (a male) could not be controlled by the owner and had to be sold; the fourth died during gestation; and her fifth child was a beautiful girl, Bella, and we were delighted to welcome mother and baby to our sanctuary in mid-2022. Sadly, despite best efforts, Bella passed away quietly in her sleep in December 2022. She appears to have been yet another casualty of the virulent endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV), to which baby Asian elephants are highly susceptible. She was just two and a half years old.
Mae Boonkam (left) and Fadd
Sisters Mae Boonkham (means Boon Come; age about 25 yrs) and Fadd (means twin; age 13 yrs) joined us from Mae Chaem district, close to our camp, on the 9th September 2022.
Fadd was a surprise birth in the jungle late at night since her owner was unsure of her due date. He woke the next morning to the sound of a baby elephant, and together with several villagers, they were delighted to find mum and baby safe and well. Not long after, they heard another sound, about 500 m away. It sounded a bit like a Tiger! One brave villager climbed a big tree for a closer look and could see something moving nearby. He threw a small stone, and to everyone’s surprise, another baby elephant came running out from behind a tree! A twin! Sadly, Fadd’s sister passed away aged eight, but as far as we know the twin birth was one of only three such events recorded globally.