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Get to know these

GENTLE GIANTS
KOH LANTA 

Mae Songkran

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Thai Name

English Name

Gender

Age
Features

Rescue Date

Prior Life
Likes / Dislikes

MAE SONGKRAN

Thai New Year

Female

50, As at 2023

Wears a small necklace

13th April 2023

Tourism, mainly riding

Likes her mahout

Mae Songkran is our little – or not so little! – New Year miracle. She previously worked at a temple where monks would ride her, and where she was scared of the sounds of the drums. Even now, she prefers peace and quiet and will walk away if the other elephants are making a noise. Sadly, her previous experiences made her angry and aggressive and we were unsure we’d be able to rescue her. The monks couldn’t feed her – they had to throw food at her – but they told our founder, Ray, that if she would take food from him, he could take her. And so, on Songkran 2023, he walked up to her and whispered, ‘come home, no more work, come home with me, and you can eat and graze, free forever’. And she gleefully took the bananas out of his hand!

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Kamsung

Thai Name

English Name

Gender

Age
Features

Rescue Date

Prior Life
Likes / Dislikes

KAMSUNG / TUA LEK

Beautiful, small one

Female

42, As at 2023

Hard skin on her shoulders

12th August 2023

Tourism, mainly riding

Likes Thongsuk

Kamsung / Tua Lek has had an extremely tough life. She was forced to work in logging and tourism industries for many years, often being ridden up to 20 times each day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. As a result, she has lesions and hard skin on her shoulders from the uncomfortable rope harness she had to wear. Despite that, she has a very sweet nature and has proven herself to be a natural leader since arriving at Following Giants in August 2023. On only her second day here she was walking freely, and she now happily leads the other elephants through the jungle. Carefree and free at last, Kamsung now has a future to look forward to.

Mae Thongsuk

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Thai Name

English Name

Gender

Age
Features

Rescue Date

Prior Life
Likes / Dislikes

MAE THONGSUK

Happy

Female

48, As at 2020

Hairy tail

1st November 2020

Tourism and logging

Likes Kamsung and the water

 

Mae Thongsuk is Happy by name and happy by nature. She’s a very contented girl. She’s usually a bit of a loner, but she did instantly make friends with Kamsung Tua Lek when she arrived in August 2023 and we were all delighted to see that. After all, if Happy is happy, we’re happy! One of her favourite things in the world is water. She loves to splash around and roll about in it, but only if she’s on her own. If anyone starts watching her or speaking to her while she’s having her bath, she’ll stop. Well, a girl needs her privacy, right?

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Mae Thongsuk having a treat in her bath !

Enjoying some plants !

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Khai Dam

Thai Name

English Name

Gender

Age
Features

Rescue Date

Prior Life
Likes / Dislikes

KHAI DAM

 Black Egg

Male

26, As at 2022

Tusks

29th October 2022

Entertainment and logging

Likes his privacy

During your visit you might see Khai Dam dancing or making hula hoop movements with his trunk. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is because he’s happy and having fun. The reality is it’s simply muscle memory and he’s remembering the times when he was cruelly trained to perform for the amusement of tourists. It was certainly not a happy life and, in truth, that terrible torment has made him extremely sad and a bit of a loner. Our mahouts are very conscious of keeping Khai Dam calm and relaxed. He has excellent hearing – so would you with ears like that! – so our mahouts speak very softly to him so as not to frighten or startle him.

Khai Dam enjoying a mud bath and relaxing !

Thang Mo

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Thai Name

English Name

Gender

Age
Features

Rescue Date

Prior Life
Likes / Dislikes

THANG MO

Watermelon

Female

36, As at 2022
Hairy head and mouth

8th November 2022 Tourism and logging

Food, I am very greedy.

 

Thang Mo is still a fairly young girl, and she certainly has the confidence of youth. She’s so cheeky and crafty she’ll often steal the other elephants’ food, sometimes even from out of their mouths! She is quite a hairy girl, but she doesn’t believe in a long and expensive grooming regime as hairiness in elephants is a sign of good health. She can get a bit jealous if she doesn’t get enough attention – she likes to be involved in everything. Thang Mo was rescued in November 2022 on Loy Krathong, an important religious festival in Thailand. And we certainly feel blessed to have her here.

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Diving into the water !

Greedy Thang Mo getting a jungle treat !

Mae Songkran
Kamsung
Mae Thongsuk
Khai Dam
Thang Mo
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Chok

Aside from giving rides to tourists every day, Chok’s striking features lead him to be used as a live prop for documentaries, movies, commercials, and wedding photos. His full name Plai Somchok meant “fortunate,” and fortunate he was indeed to leave his “modelling” career behind and be admired for his natural behavior in his natural habitat instead. Our star-elephant passed away in 2021, from old age. 

Chok
Sow
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And also those we will

ALWAYS REMEMBER

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Sow

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The name “Sow” was a nickname, meaning “young girl.” Though she was still strong and determined at the end of her life, the 20 years she spent giving rides to tourists at various camps throughout southern Thailand have taken a toll on her body. As is common with elderly elephants, Sow’s teeth were deteriorating, which means she could only chew and digest soft grasses and leaves. At Following Giants, she was treated to an abundance of her favourite supplementary foods, which her mahout P’Dam put through a food shredder so they were easier for Sow to eat. She died of old age in 2021, in the hospital.

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Jahn Yai

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Her full name, “Manee Jahn”, is the name of a precious stone. But her nickname is Jahn Yai, meaning Big Moon, and we’re lucky to have this shining gem. In her 40s, Jahn Yai has spent most of her adult life logging heavy commercial wood and giving rides to tourists in various provinces. As our resident social butterfly, the best part of Jahn Yai’s new, elephant-friendly life is the time and space to freely interact with the other elephants. She sadly still remembers Sow, her former best friend who passed away in 2021. Now, she often hangs out with her new friends, Mae Thongsuk and Khai Dam, except during bath time, as she’d rather go eat some plants instead !

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Jahn Yai rolling into the mud !

Cooling down at the river

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Jahn Lek

Jahn Lek moved on the 3rd of October of 2022 from another sanctuary in Koh Lanta, where she had an accident in the logging industry and fell down from the mountain. Her hip got injured, and we had to take good care of her until she recovered ! She is 46 years old and can spend the rest of her life in the forest, following her best friend Thang Mo everywhere. Her name means Small Moon, as she is the smallest elephant here but has the biggest heart ! She is very friendly, except with monkeys, dogs or chicken. She is calm and a big observer of her environment : walking slowly, smelling plants before eating, and checking her new people friends !

Everyday, kindly waiting for her best friend Thang Mo !

Jahn Lek getting into the pool !

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