The above video features the WFFT Elephant Refuge rescue team coming to the aid of an ailing, abused elderly elephant named Jum Nong who had been grossly exploited in the trekking industry in Thailand.
Upon arriving, they were met with a heartbreaking sight of a chained baby elephant trained to kiss tourists on the mouth who was desperately reaching for contact with the other chained elephants, but to no avail. (If only they could save them all!) Once they found Jum Nong, they wasted no time and quickly set to free her from the chains that have held her captive for agonizing years upon years.
Jum Nong and the other elephants are riddled with ailments typical of elephants used in the trekking industry — tattered ears from bullhooks, malnutrition, parasites, untreated fresh and old wounds, and of course, psychological and emotional trauma.
Jum Nong will never again be chained, and by the looks of things, she is already becoming close friends with the other elephants at the refuge. Sadly, her story is not unique, as trekking elephants used across Asia suffer similarly, either kidnapped from the wild or bred in captivity to become commodities for the tourism industry. The “breaking in” process is so brutal that many elephants do not even survive it, and those who do are destined for a life of pure misery and abuse riddled with bullhooks, chains, and endless days of backbreaking work carrying heavy loads of tourists.
If you are moved by the heroic work of WFFT, please consider making a donation so they can continue to rescue and protect our world’s glorious elephants. To donate and follow the progress of Jum Nong’s rehabilitation, please visit the organization’s website here.
And PLEASE remember to SHARE this with your network as an eye-opener to the reality of elephant trekking. Many tourists who pay for these rides are clueless to the suffering the animals endure, and without laws in place to ban the abuse, these businesses will only shut down when awareness spreads and people stop paying for this type of “entertainment.”