Nam Phon’s life used to be filled with days slaving people and suffering with many aches and pains for her hard life.
Nam Phon was one of the first elephants to retire at the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) Elephant Refuge in 2004 after spending most of her life carrying tourists around at various elephant camps. According to WFFT, she more than likely was taken from the wild as a baby before being sold into the logging then tourism industries.
Now Nam Phon is 55 years old, lived a peaceful life at the refuge for six years, enjoying her days in the company of her own kind, until 2010, when Nam Phon’s owner decided to take her back, ripping her away from her friends and freedom and sadly being forced back into her life of pain and labor. At the time of her initial rescue, WFFT didn’t have the finances needed to pay elephant owners to allow their animals to permanently retire at the sanctuary.
Finally in March 2016 that Nam Phon was finally rescued for good from a trekking camp in west Thailand. After years of negotiation with the owner, the WFFT was able to bring their gentle lady back home. Nam Phon, who enjoys the company of both humans and elephants, has since found an especially close friend in Jele, another senior female who was rescued from death after she was found chained to a tree.
When Nam Phon spends time with her best friend, whom she loves to “hold hands” with using her trunk, she enjoys her daily walks and physiotherapy swim lessons. Her days were filled with hard labor, has left Nam Phon’s back legs slightly lame. Sadly, Nam Phon suffered from a collapsing episode and was unable to stand for several days.
A specially made hoist was placed on her body to help her stand on all four feet again.
Now she is able to walk on her own, but the hope is that her continued rehabilitation and therapy will prevent another incident like that from happening.
“She is treated in a medical pool once a day and spends however long she wants to in the pool,” Tom Taylor, assistant director of WFFT, told The Dodo.
“The daily swimming sessions will strengthen her muscles, as well as giving her something to smile about,” he said.
As for what motivates Nam Phon to get in and out of the water? She loves it!!!
“Food, food and more food, and lots of words of encouragement,” Taylor said.
You can keep up with Nam Phon and her friends on Facebook.
Want to support Nam Phon’s therapy, and help WFFT save more elephants? You can make a donation here.
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