Who can resist a baby Asian elephant? They are not only adorable but infectiously happy and curious creatures. It is near impossible to see one and not instantly melt due to the cuteness. Sadly, however, it is this infectious preciousness that also makes baby elephants extremely vulnerable to the tourism industry.

In Thailand, taking baby elephants from the wild and selling them into trekking camps and other animal attractions has become an all too common practice. These calves are subjected to a brutal “breaking” period where they are beaten and abused to teach them to “obey” their human trainers, after which point they are taught to perform tricks or carry tourists on their backs. This is hardly the life that a young elephant (or any animal!) deserves.

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Thankfully, Elephant Nature Park exists as a sanctuary for elephants who are former victims of this industry and others. At the sanctuary, the elephants are never exploited or used for entertainment but are free to live life on their own terms and enjoy the company of the herd that resides there.

Little Khun Dej is an injured elephant calf who was rescued by Elephant Nature Park and is now enjoying every second of his freedom.

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Khun Dej has a foot injury that could easily become infected during Thailand’s wet season. So, the amazing Elephant Nature Park vet team fashioned him a special boot.

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Like all baby elephants, Khun Dej loves to play and now that his injured foot is safe and sound, he is free to live it up!

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Khun Dej loves showing off his fancy footwear to his ellie nannies.

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“Trunks off the boot, this gorgeous shoe is mine!” 

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The true epitome of function and fashion, Khun Dej’s boot is certainly the talk of the Elephant Nature Park herd. 

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A big thanks to the kind people who made this all possible! To learn more about Elephant Nature Park, check out their website and Facebook page.

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All image source: Elephant Nature Park