Thong Dee (M)
Thong was rescued from a riding camp in Phang Nga. Like most of our older elephant rescues, Thong was put to work in a logging camp for many years. When Thong got too weak to haul logs for the logging camp she was working for, she was moved to a riding camp. While we desperately want to believe that being forced to work in places not meant for an elephant, was the worst thing that could have happened to her, this is unfortunately not the case.
Thong had early onset of cataracts. While Cataracts is a common ailment among older elephants, early onset of cataracts could mean high exposure to the sun, malnutrition or lack of basic health care. Cataracts can be easily defined as lesions of the lens. This causes the lens to become opaque. Thong’s ‘inefficiency’ grew increasingly irritable to her handlers. Her mahout, unfortunately, struck her in her other eye, causing permanent damage to her cornea and instant blindness. Here, at EJSCP, we are always in support of mahouts and believe that instead of not caring for the elephants, they instead do not know HOW TO CARE for the elephants. This, however, is a recurring thing that happens with inexperienced mahouts.
Thong is the latest elephant to join our Matriarch Project. The Matriarch Project is a project that aims at giving a second lease on life to old, retired elephants. While the cost of rescue for older elephants is slightly cheaper, the rescues typically come with a whole list of medical problems. Our older rescues are given a special diet with supplements and enzymes to aid digestion. Our in-house vet is also on call to treat our Matriarchs whenever the need arises.