Sao Noi was chained up all day long in the strong, relentless thai sun , in a barren, rubbish filled corner of a trekking camp in Pattaya.
She was too weak to work and was chained up beside Sontaya.
We were so moved by her plight and we asked immediately about buying her, but we were told she was not for sale and to keep our distance because she was aggressive.
While the team was overjoyed to walk Sontaya onto the truck and take her away from the camp forever, we could not forget Sao Noi , and we immediately began to make contact with the owner. There was no way we could leave that poor frail old lady there.
Katherine managed to persuade the owner to sell her, and less than a month after rescuing Sontaya, we went back for Sao Noi.
Her rescue was funded by an online campaign and a Just Giving Fundraiser by BLEAF ( Boon Lotts Elephants Asia Foundation ), who have supported us so many times over the years.
We are so grateful to everyone who made this rescue possible.
A frail, underweight elephant in her sixties, Sao Noi was extremely worn out by the 13hour journey to BLES from her previous home. Only three days after her arrival to the sanctuary, Sao Noi laid down to sleep and struggled to get back on her feet. Our team of mahouts sprung into action and were quickly able to hoist her up and back onto her four feet again.
Other than this, Sao Noi has thrived since arriving at the sanctuary and has enjoyed tasting new grasses, vines, leaves, and treats from the welcome buffet we prepared before her arrival. She quickly settled in and felt comfortable wandering onto a nearby grass patch, where she met the Gossip Girls, Boon Thong, Permpoon, Thong Dee and of course, her old roommate, Sontaya.
Their reunion was emotional and had us wiping away tears of joy. We watched these old friends reconnect with each other surrounded by fresh, green grass and sweet, juicy melons. After years of work, this was the moment they had been waiting for.
Only time will tell us who else Sao Noi bonds with. For now, we are so pleased to give her the freedom and self determination she needs to be an elephant again.
You can read Katherine’s blog about Sao Noi’s rescue here: https://blesele.wordpress.com/2016/06/04/saonoiissafe/
Sadly, Sao Noi passed away July 3rd 2016.
Her time with us was so short, yet, she managed to live a lifetime in that short space of time - to see her scratching the mud off her back against a tree, to see the look on her face as she enjoyed soft, juicy fruit instead of the hard, spiky pineapple tops that were her staple diet for so many years - these are moments we will never forget.
Rest in peace Little Girl.