Yesterday the WFFT Elephant Refuge welcomed another new soul to the herd. Boon Dee is half blind and has been rescued from a trekking camp in Pattaya. The rescue was made possible by the generous support of Joan Pearson who is again visiting WFFT from Australia. The difference with this visit is that for the first time Joan came alone. Normally she brings a group of sponsors from Australia and spends her time here making sure they have a great time. This time we managed to convince her to come alone and allow the whole WFFT team to look after her for a change. Joan was celebrating a significant birthday and didn’t want a big fuss made back in Sydney. Instead she wanted to spend it in her favourite place in the world surrounded by the animals she loves. Joan’s only wish for a present was to be able to rescue another elephant. When we learned that there was an elephant in need of rescue in Pattaya the team including Joan headed out to investigate. It was love at first sight. Having arrived at the camp four years ago Boon Dee had been in a terrible state. Emaciated and covered in abscesses her owners cried when they first saw the abuse and neglect she had suffered. They took good care of her while they had her and returned her to full health. When they were forced to sell her they didn’t want to run the risk of her falling into the wrong hands again and contacted the WFFT Elephant Refuge team. After completing the necessary paperwork Boon Dee’s owners accompanied her on the long journey back to the centre. They cried again when they saw where she was going to spend the rest of her life, but this time it was tears of joy.
Never again will this gentle giant be chained or beaten. Never again will she have to carry a saddle on her back giving rides to the endless buss loads of tourists who visited the camp where she was made to work. After getting off the truck Boon Dee wanted to stretch her legs after the long journey. She took a stroll into WFFT’s Project 4 and took a look at the oasis that will become her home. She made a beeline for the first enclosure and greeted its inhabitant Gan Da. We then learned that these two had previously been friends when they worked together in a camp in Chiang Rai many years ago! We hope that they can once again become friends. What a fantastic birthday present for Joan who has had her wish come true and was here to witness the magic. Thank you to Joan again for her compassion and her determination to help the elephants of Thailand.