Faa Mai the elephant and Lek Chailert, her caretaker, have a very special connection. You might remember this lively little elephant from her incredible rendition of a ribbon dance, here. Unlike other elephants living at the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary for rescued elephants, Faa Mai was born in the sanctuary, so she was able to form a close bond with Lek from the very beginning of her life. While it may appear that Faa Mai is attempting to eat Lek for lunch, she is actually giving her a big elephant smooch!
Lek Chailert is the founder of Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, and spend her days taking care of the many elephants who have come to live on her sanctuary. Asian elephants are endangered, and all too often exploited by the tourism industry. Baby elephants are a goldmine for tourist attractions, taken from their mothers at an early age and trained through fear and pain to perform tricks for paying customers.
Elephant Nature Park is a haven for elephants in Thailand, existing as a free space where they are protected from poachers as well as a life in chains as a tourist accessory. Just watch how happy little Faa Mai interacts with Lek, her human friend. It is clear they have a bond paralleled by few, based on love and trust. What a beautiful thing!
Image source: Elephant Nature Park/Facebook