When an animal has lived a traumatic life of mistreatment and abuse, it is tough for them to trust another human or animal. However, sometimes animals surprise us, as the story of Mae Kam. This weathered elephant may be safe now, but she came from a very traumatic past, spending 37 years dragging heavy logs for the logging industry and then being forced to give rides to tourists.
Eventually, Mae Kam began to act up. She would get upset without any warning and throw tourists off her back. Her owner tried to beat her into submission with a piece of bamboo, leaving her skin covered in welts. However, the beatings did not change her behavior. Mae Kam had experienced too much heartache in her life and couldn’t recover.
Rescuers say Mae Kam’s abusive owner explained that her aggressive behavior began after she delivered two babies: one was a stillborn. After that loss, Mae Kam experienced her other child being bit and killed by a cobra. Chained to her enclosure, she tried to escape to protect her child, but by the time her chains were undone it was too late. The death was too much for Mae Kam. She became aggressive and dangerous.
Fortunately, Emily McWilliam and Burm Rinkaew, cofounders of BEES (Burm & Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary) caught wind of Mae Kam’s situation. They offered to pay to take the elephant and the owner agreed. For the first time in her life, Mae Kam was able to roam as she pleased. However, she still had a hard time trusting.
When the sanctuary welcomed another elephant from the same abusive background as Mae Kam, volunteers believed the two could help each other. When Mae Kam first met Mae Jumpee, she shrieked and ran away. However, the next meeting went much differently. This time the two elephants began to sniff each other and show affection for each other.
From that moment on, the two elephants became inseparable. Their strong bond has shocked the staff, but McWilliam is happy the two finally found someone to trust.
“We can never really know why they became such good friends,” McWilliam told The Dodo. “It was a bond that formed instantly, similar to when humans find a soul mate. They love each other dearly.”
For more information on BEES and how you can help their mission of rescuing elephants, visit bees-elesanctuary.org.