The world has progressed so much, yet we still have so many barbaric practices going on till now. Animal exploitation is one of those evil things. Elephants are used as “rides” for tourists in some parts of the world, and they are not always treated well. This story is about Ploy Thong, an elephant that had been a slave for most of her life. She served as a tourist attraction for 16 years of her life. Before that, she worked in a circus. Thankfully, her bad days are over.

She was saved by the Save Elephant Foundation, and now spends her days on the grounds of a sanctuary. Sadly, before her time on the sanctuary, Ploy Thong’s days involved working herself to the bone. To make matters worse, she was completely blind as well.

“Ploy Thong is one more elephant that we decided to rescue. Both eyes blind, she transported tourists every day. Every day she was saddled early and carried riders until the sunset,” a staff member of Save Elephant Foundation said.

Since she was blind, Ply Thong had to utilize her other senses to get work done and just survive.
“She used her trunk to sniff the way while the tourist rode on her back. We saw her working while on the journey to rescue Bua Keaw, and began discussions with the owner to set her free,” the Save Elephants Foundation staff said. “Her journey to freedom begins.”

But things at the sanctuary were very different than they were for her as a tourist attraction in the Pattaya region of Thailand. Ploy Thong, who rescuers think is 30-years-old, didn’t have to work. It would let her old body get some rest. But she needed to learn to make new friends. During her time as a circus elephant and tourist attraction, Ploy Thog never got to socialize with a lot of other elephants.

The rescue knew they had to help her socialize, and it would be the first time in decades that Ploy Thong would get to interact with a herd. They weren’t sure about how the rest of the elephants on site would react to her. It would be challenging for her to socialize after such a long time, especially since she was blind.

When she walked up to the fence, the old elephant waited for them to react. She did however reach out with her trunk, which might be an introduction. To everyone’s surprise, several other elephants reached out with their trunks to greet Ploy Thong. Some of them even held their trunks with her.

At that moment, Ploy Thong knew she was a part of a new herd. She would finally get to live the life she always needed. Despite going through years of hardship, at least this elephant can now spend the rest of her life living the life she deserved, surrounded by others of her kind.

Check out the video below to witness the encounter:

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