Ayeya May is an orphaned baby elephant who is currently living at the Winkabaw Elephant Camp in Myanmar. Understandably, Ayeya May is distraught without his mother and is, sadly, starving. But when Lek Chailert Founder of Save Elephant Foundation and Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, came to visit the camp something incredible happened…
Lek Chailert gently gave the baby some milk and sang him a lullaby. As you can see in the above video, Ayeya May was clearly comforted by her singing and at one point he rested his truck on her arm, almost as if to say thank you. The sweet baby then became so relaxed he let Lek pet his stomach. It’s truly beautiful to see this sweet baby receiving the care and attention he so deserves.
Ayeya May isn’t the only orphaned baby at the Winkabaw Elephant Camp. There are two others, a seven-month-old named Yuyu and a four-month-old named Mary, who will all receive the best care possible. Save Elephant Foundation is a non–profit organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to the captive Asian elephant population, and alongside Elephant Nature Park, an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center, they have saved countless elephants. Lek Chailert works directly with trekking camps to get them to treat their elephants better and eventually phase out their tourism model in favor of being a sanctuary. Considering a majority of Thailand’s elephants are in captivity – for either the tourism or logging industry – this shift is gravely needed.
Elephants form close relationships with other family members – especially mothers and calves. Elephant calves will stay with their mothers for around 16 years, but the elephant tourism business in Thailand shatters this bond at the ripe age of six months. Simply put, supporting elephant tourism is supporting elephant abuse. Knowing what we do about these highly endangered animals, we must do all we can to protect them and to keep them wild.