This afternoon while walking up to eat dinner, several of us noticed Kamkaew in the bushes paired with lot of commotion. None of us could figure out what was going on until we walked a little further.. A big truck was idling at the top of the hill and all the pieces fell together. They are taking her away.
Kamkaew came to ElephantsWorld under the stipulation that her owner can come and get her whenever he wants. A clause I do not support but didn’t think much about as it wasn’t regularly or openly discussed.
Well today her owner decided to take her back and there’s nothing anyone can do. She’s only 10 years old which means she has 70+ years of work ahead of her. Since she is disabled she is unable to give rides, so she will be performing tricks, living the rest of her days on a 2ft chain.
I sat nearby and watched for an hour until I couldn’t handle it anymore. I demanded to know why ElephantsWorld is taking in elephants from trekking camps, maintaining them and allowing them to be returned. If this is actually what is happening, they are working WITH the camps and doing nothing to help the situation in Thailand. Every day we stress to visitors how bad the conditions are in trekking camps, but apparently we take care of their elephants when they ask?
Nobody had any concrete, sensible answers for me and they blamed my thinking on a western standpoint. I respect and understand Thai culture but this time, I do not agree. That sentence gets used a lot around here and honestly it’s a cop out used when they can’t explain or defend their position.
It’s been 2 hours and they have not gotten Kamkaew in the truck. She’s terrified, exhausted and extremely upset. And my heart is broken.
UPDATE: They were unable to load her into the truck so she is still here this morning. It’s only a matter of time before they come back. The other elephants sensed the stress and 2 escaped last night. The mahouts were out all night looking for them. One elephant attacked an older elephant and pushed her to the ground. These are highly emotional and intelligent animals and the tension has been pretty thick today.