Lisa – The Newest Member of the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket


The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary team is proud to announce the second new resident to join our herd at the EJS Phuket location recently [If you haven’t met Rosé yet, you can check our previous post about her here]. Please allow us to officially introduce the beautiful Lisa and welcome her to Elephant Jungle Sanctuary! Lisa, Rosé, and another new member of the herd – who will be introduced in an upcoming post – all have unique backgrounds and histories, but they all now share a permanent home, where they can live a life of love, care, and respect.

Lisa is a 40 year old female elephant who was recently rescued from a local elephant camp in Phuket and brought to EJS. Little is known about her early life, but it is believed that she was born in or near Bangkok. Prior to the economic downturn resulting from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lisa worked as a performer at a circus in Bangkok for at least eight years. In 2020, as a result of a lack of tourism income forcing the circus to close, she was moved to Phuket, where, unfortunately, she was subjected to inhumane treatment. For more than two years, Lisa was confined to a small space in which she had little interaction with elephants or humans, and limited cognitive stimulation from her austere environment. During her time in Phuket, Lisa’s diet was not sufficiently varied, and she did not have adequate space in which to properly exercise. As a result of these factors, she was in somewhat poor health at the time of her rescue.

Upon arriving at her new home at EJS Phuket, Lisa underwent a thorough veterinary health check and began a period of quarantine. During this time, she was also introduced to her new Mahout, and they began the long process of forming a bond. Lisa was found to have several distinguishing physical characteristics, including a larger than average head size, large ears, and unusual two-toned tail hair. Our veterinary team administered a course of precautionary deworming medication, as well as vitamins and other dietary supplements, and noted that she had a friendly but somewhat nervous disposition on arrival.

Curiously, Lisa had adapted to the limitations of her former environment so completely that she initially refused all foods except for bamboo leaves and a select few other fibrous plants. Her Mahout attempted to offer her a huge variety of different foods each day, but it took two weeks before she felt comfortable enough to indulge in any food to which she was previously unaccustomed. Now, like the other elephants in her herd, Lisa has begun adjusting to her new life, and enjoys a balanced, nutritious, and highly varied diet, eating with a newfound prodigious appetite. Similarly, Lisa was observed to be hesitant to leave her resting area or interact with other elephants, even after her quarantine period had been completed. Her Mahout gently encouraged her to join him on short walks in the forest, and initially, though she would walk a short distance, she showed little interest in roaming independently or foraging for food.

Over time, however, Lisa’s curiosity seemed to grow with her fitness and confidence, and she began to roam further and forage in an exploratory way for longer periods. Simultaneously, she also began to initiate interactions with the other elephants at EJS Phuket, and she is currently settling into herd social life very well. It is a pleasure and a privilege to help Lisa and elephants like her, and the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary team is extremely pleased with her progress thus far.