A mother elephant and her daughter had an emotional reunion at the Elephant Nature Park, a ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ and rehabilitation center in Thailand, after being separated for nearly three years by the tourism industry. The stunning event was captured on camera, and it demonstrates elephants’ strong emotional bonds with one another!
MeBai, a female Asian elephant who was just 3 years old was separated from her mother, Mae Yui and a half years old and forced to carry visitors on her back through the streets of Thailand — a fate shared by hundreds of Asian elephants. MeBai continued to live this wretched existence for about three years, which had a significant influence on her health.
She began ʟᴏsɪɴɢ weight and had to stop working due to her failing health, so her owner eventually decided to move her to the “Pamper A Pachyderm” program at the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai province.
“When she first arrived, she was quite nervous and we took care to feed her well until she was healthy again,” Elephant Nature Park founder Sangduen “Lek” Chailert writes in a blog post about the rescue. “We also began to search what had become of her mother.”
Chailert soon discovered Mae Yui was working at another tourist camp more than 60 miles away, so she contacted that camp’s owner about setting up a reunion. He agreed, and a team of caretakers took MeBai on a four-day hike to see her mother for the first time in years.
The emotional moment the pair were reunited was captured on camera. It shows the elephants caressing each other with their trunks and flapping their ears – seemingly in joy – after spending an uncertain half an hour together where the keepers thought they may be worried about being separated again.
The pair will remain at the sanctuary together, until they’ll be ready to return where they belong:in the wild. “The Elephant Nature Park are working together to rehabilitate Mae Yui and Me-Bai so that they can return to the wild and live free,” the sanctuary wrote.