Beautiful Lotus (Bwua Ngam) is another elephant that had fallen victim to cruelty and neglect. Used as a trekking elephant, her days were filled with the burden of ferrying tourists on laborious climbs. In addition, her owners used her for forced breeding, a cruel and dangerous practice. The trekking camp was poorly managed and Lotus never knew human kindness or had the opportunity to just enjoy being an elephant. Her owners’ mistreatment and ignorance caused her to become infected with foot rot leaving her with such extreme swelling that she was forced to walk on the sides of her feet. They beat her around the ankles to make her move more quickly but all this accomplished was to inflict her with deep wounds that further exacerbated her inflammation and infection.
When it eventually became clear to the owners that she was no longer of use, they kept her tied to a 80 cm chain on the side of a busy road. Left for endless hours standing on a concrete slab, she passed the time watching the traffic whiz by. Occasionally, a few cars would stop to feed her cucumbers but her pain was so great that she could only sway back and forth to relieve the pressure. At night, Lotus was tied up in a graveyard. Barren of trees, grass and water, the rocky ground was littered with trash and animal feces.
BLES was contacted to investigate Lotus’s situation and upon visiting the camp, the urgency of her dire condition became immediately apparent. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of BLES supporter Silke Preussker and Louise Rogerson, founder of Elephant Asia Rescue and Survival Foundation (EARS), BLES was able to purchase Lotus and secure a future for her at the Sanctuary. The arduous trip to Hua Hin and back, as well as Lotus’s transportation, was financed through an online campaign chaired by faithful supporters, Erika Simmons and Stacy Miller. Not only were they able to raise the funds for Lotus’s delivery, but additional monies were secured for medical treatment for Lotus’s chronic foot condition.
Lotus’s enthusiasm for departing her camp was evident when Katherine readied her for the journey. She tossed her chain over her shoulder as if to say, “Come on, let’s go”. With little coaxing, she easily climbed onto the truck and rested her head on the top of the cab for the duration of the journey. Arriving at her new home, she wondered freely in wonder at her first experience being in a forest. Lotus devoured the Sanctuary’s papaya and banana trees, bamboo bushes, vegetable patch, pineapple plants and even the BLES Christmas trees! A quick study, she has friended the staff and learned that treats will come her way if she waits patiently by the footpath. Our beautiful Lotus grows even more beautiful with every passing day.