Somsri (Gentle Lady) is an elderly 70 year old female who was discovered, dangerously thin and covered with sores and fresh wounds, working in a Pattaya trekking camp by BLESfriend and supporter Sarah Blaine. Somsri was also suffering from a uterine infection and her feet were deeply cracked causing her visible pain. Prior to carrying heavy loads of tourists on treks, she spent years as a begging elephant on the streets of Hua Hin. Her owners were kind and loved her but were deeply in debt so decided to sell her to clear their overheads.
Once Sarah alerted Katherine to the possibility of rescuing Somsri, Katherine sent out a plea to supporters for funds. Within 48 hours, the BLES community came together and generated 4000 GBP to bring the poor girl to a much deserved retirement at the Sanctuary.
In a matter of weeks after the funds were raised, Katherine and family, Louise Rogerson of EARS, and Sarah Blaine made the long drive to Pattaya to sign papers and bring Somsri back. Before their departure from Pattaya, Katherine whispered into Somsri’s ear that they were taking her home. Clearly she understood something great was in the works as she easily climbed into the trunk and munched contentedly on grasses during her monumentous drive to BLES.
Upon arrival at BLES, Somsri quickly found her way to the banana hut while the girls, Wassana, Lotus and Pang Dow, stood at the top of the hill watching her. Wassana even squeaked a little ‘welcome my friend’ to the newcomer. Somsri has a way to go to heal as she requires nutritious foods and foot care for her damaged soles but we are confident that she will live out her life as an elephant should — cared for and carefree.
Our lovely old lady passed on 13th March 2013 having lost a longtime battle with a chronic infection. Although she was only able to enjoy a few weeks of freedom atBLES, we are grateful that we were able to give her precious moments of peace, freedom and all the fruit her heart desired.