Eleven year old Tong Jaan is a very lucky elephant. Back in 2005, she was rescued along with Bua Tong. Both of these gorgeous elephants had experienced a life filled with cruelty, working at a Thai elephant trekking camp. Although Tong Jaan’s mother had spent the duration of her life working, six-month-old Tong Jaan was still too young to work. The rescue of these two couldn’t have come at a better time as Tong Jaan was only weeks away from being taken from her mother and forced to undergo the cruel rite of passage called crush training, where baby elephants are put in tiny stalls, tied tightly with ropes and beaten, in order to break their spirits. Crush training is an unfortunate reality for all of the elephants working in the trekking camps, but luckily for these ladies, Elephant Nature Park was able to rescue them just in time!

Unlike her mother, Tong Jaan will never know the cruel life of working elephants. 11 years after her rescue, Tong Jaan is celebrating her birthday! Here the spirited teen poses with her baby sister Faa Mai and her foster sister Dok Ngern.

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Free from the stress of captivity, these lovely ladies will most likely live some 60-70 years, almost as long as a human. In the care of Elephant Nature Park, they will never know anything but love and happiness.

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 Here, the adolescent Tong Jaan seems to be enjoying the special attention on her special day and even stopped for a quick selfie!

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With elephant populations being threatened all over the world, it is nice to know that sanctuaries like Elephant Nature Park exist, providing a safe haven where elephants can just be. If you would like to learn more about their extensive conservation efforts, you can visit their website here.

All image source: Elephant Nature Park