Elephants experience feelings of love, joy, compassion, and happiness, just like we do. But sadly, they also know what it feels like to drown in their own grief, pain, depression, and sorrow.
It was clear by the haunted look in Kabu’s eyes that she’d suffered through far more than any animal should ever have to endure.
When Kabu was rescued from life as a “logging elephant” by the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, she was grieving for more than just the loss of her babies.
She was heartbroken, abused, and injured beyond repair.
Staff members at the park tried their hardest to get Kabu to play with the rest of the elephant herd, but she stubbornly refused to make any friends.
“On Kabu’s arrival, she seemed sad, and did not connect deeply with others.”
The happiest among them, Faa Mai, tried to befriend and comfort Kabu, but she was shooed away!
When she was just two years old, Kabu suffered a debilitating injury that still affects her to this very day.
A log that her mom was pushing and pulling through the forested hills suddenly rolled out of control and broke her leg.
“In Asia, the life of the working elephant is one of overwork and abuse until their last days. Their work is hard. Lack of care is common in the deep forest. Even blind or injured they must still work.”
When she walks, Kabu’s left leg will buckle beneath her, forcing her to shift the weight to her right side. After years of walking with this unnatural gait, her right leg is now deformed.
Kabu received no medical treatment for her broken bones, and was left permanently disfigured and handicapped as a result.
After vets at the Elephant Nature Park examined her old childhood injury, they sadly agreed that nothing more could be done. The damage was beyond repair.
It wasn’t just Kabu’s physical pain that was leaving her feeling depressed and out of sorts.
“Kabu had 2 children, both taken from her. A boy who died not long after being “trained” and a girl who still works for the tourist industry.”
Elephants never forget a face, not even those of loved ones who have passed away.
It was there in the shadow of her favorite tree that Kabu felt safe enough to cry.
Even though the other elephants at the sanctuary did their best to lift her spirits, the sweet old girl preferred to the solitude of her proverbial “happy place,” which was a mud pit that was shaded by a giant fig tree.
“It seemed that she was waiting for someone.”
When that someone finally did arrive, it was just the sort of hallelujah rescue operation that this heartbroken mama desperately needed!
Something lit up inside Kabu when a baby elephant named Chana arrived at the park. She had a renewed sense of purpose, and she eagerly stepped into the role of Chana’s new adopted mama.
“When Chana was brought to Elephant Nature Park, Kabu’s life changed. She is happy again. She protects Chana as her own.”
It was love at first sight, and now that Kabu and Chana have found each other, their lives have taken on new meaning!
“They play together. They eat and learn from one another. They sleep together at night.”
As for Kabu’s mud pit playpen for one – it turns out that there was always plenty of room for two to frolic around and play!
“We are glad to see elephant Kabu happy again even though the newly rescued elephant Chana is not her true bloodline. Chana fulfils Kabu’s life, returning to motherhood and the enjoyment of a more complete life former taken from her at Elephant Nature Park.”
Be sure to watch the video below to see Kabu and Chana find their happy place.
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