This gentle, social elephant in her fifties was rescued from a riding and trekking camp in Pattaya, Southern Thailand.
Like many elephants living and working in camp environments, Thong Dee had loving owners who worked her because they had no other means to earn an income.
They contacted BLES looking to retire her. She had been working as a “taxi elephant” for so long that the riding chair had permanently rubbed the hair off her back. She was also being attacked by the elephant that was chained up next to her in the tiny, cramped stable and she was obviously tired and depressed.
With the support of BLEAF ( Boon Lotts Elephants Asia Foundation ) and a fundraising campaign online, we soon raised the funds needed for her rescue and she was brought HOME to BLES.
Thong Dee’s first day at BLES was magical. She made it very clear to us that yellow mangos were her favourite treat by tearing through her welcome buffet, making sure she didn’t leave any behind.
She wasted no time in meeting her new family, making friends with the Gossip Girls, Boon Thong , Pang Noi and Pang Suai and was eager to join in with the forest walks at the first opportunity
Now, Thong Dee has settled into the herd beautifully and still loves to spend time with other older elephants like Boon Thong, Permpoon, Sontaya, Sao Noi, and Ngor. Her favourite place to relax and graze is under the shady Samcha trees where she covers herself in mud and scratches her entire body on the sturdy tree trunks.
More recently, she has been spending more time with Mr Moo.
Thong Dee is such a sunny, happy lady - her mahout calls her "Yai" which means grandmother - she is a firm favourite with all.