Grandma Somboon: A Remarkable Tale of Resilience and Freedom for Elephants

Elephants are majestic beings, not meant to live in captivity. It is truly appalling how they are paraded around like props in circuses. However, there is hope on the horizon as attitudes towards these gentle giants are starting to shift. Today, let’s focus on the positive and delve into Grandma Somboon’s incredible story, which begins with horror and cruelty.

Grandma Somboon, an elephant from Thailand, was taken away from her natural habitat as a young calf and spent over 80 years in grueling labor in the logging and tourism sectors. Like many other elephants, she endured unimaginable hardships, including separation from her children, performing in shows, begging on the streets, and providing riding services. Instead of enjoying her freedom, she toiled day in and day out, carrying tourists and enduring long shifts. It’s important to note that the demand from tourists perpetuates this cycle of cruelty.

Fortunately, the Save Elephant Foundation in Thailand recognized the dire situation Grandma Somboon was in and knew they had to do everything in their power to save her. In January, they successfully rescued the neglected elephant, who is now 87 years old.

“It’s time for Grandma to be cared for well and allowed to rest,” the rescue shared on Facebook. Their mission was clear: to protect Somboon and transport her to her final true home. With great determination, they brought her to the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary. However, her condition was far from satisfactory. She was emaciated, missing a tooth, had hazy eyes, and was severely dehydrated. Despite all this, the most crucial thing was that she was finally safe.

Upon her arrival at the sanctuary, it usually takes weeks for newly rescued elephants to lie down due to their lingering paranoia and lack of trust. However, Grandma Somboon defied expectations. Exhausted from her journey and a lifetime of hardship, she promptly sought the prepared sand pile and fell into a deep, sound sleep amidst the bustling activities around her.

Having spent her entire life on her feet, it was no surprise that Somboon’s first instinct was to lay down and rest. Older elephants, especially those with weak ankles, cannot bear the discomfort of sleeping with their feet tied to a short chain on a concrete floor.

When Somboon arrived at the sanctuary, she slept long and deep, with the caregivers almost struggling to wake her. Getting back on her feet after such a profound slumber proved to be a challenge. However, she managed to do so eventually! The rescue team was understandably uncertain about how well Somboon would adjust to her new environment, but she surpassed all expectations. Each rescued elephant at the sanctuary receives full care, including nourishing food, clean water, and comfortable sand beds.

While she still requires care and attention for much of the day, Somboon makes progress every single day. She must feel incredibly relieved to be free from her heavy labor and finally receiving the respect and care she deserves.

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


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