Thong Inn’s Story
Thong Inn was the fifth elephant to arrive here at Elephant Valley Thailand. His name is an old Thai name for Ganesh but prior to coming here he was called Gadi/ngdi which means nice/good tusks.
His development has been slow but steady but he has been making good progress. He came to us terribly underweight with much of his muscles seriously atrophied from lack of use. We are therefore concentrating on building him back up physically.
Thong Inn is highly recognizable not for the fact that he is a bull elephant but for the fact that we have 2 of our highly qualified and experienced staff watching him throughout the day and night. Young bull elephants can be highly aggressive and while we are concentrating on his physical rehabilitation we have a mahout ride him whenever necessary and occasionally a drag chain on his foot when we need to slow him down. However we are making progress and in the last 4 months of his first year here we were able to have him free without mahout of chain. Bull elephants are temperamentally quite different to females and so we have to take more care and patience when it comes to matters of safety of our staff and the other elephants.
Most days when he is relaxed and calm and we just leave him be in the fields with the girls and for us these are the best times for those all involved in his care.
Visiting us here and learning about Thong Inn’s care is essential to understanding the different and often difficult circumstances in which a Thai mahout has to deal with when providing a high level of care for a young bull elephant.