Sook-Jai never did what she wanted to do in her life.
For seventy-three years, the elephant had been riding tourists and carrying loads, driven by the overseer’s stick.
She was beaten for refusing to work – numerous scars on her head and body testify to this.
Sook-Jai’s health deteriorated: she completely lost her sight and partially her hearing.
Upon learning of the plight of the elephant, the Save Elephant Foundation intervened.
This non-profit organization is dedicated to helping and saving the Thai elephant population and raising public awareness about these unique animals.
The fund’s employees managed to secure the release of Sook-Jai and the transportation of the elephant to a natural park, where she can live her old age calmly and freely.
The road was long.
When Sook-Jai was brought into the truck, she trembled. Throughout the journey, the elephant lifted her trunk and sniffed the air, as if trying to determine where she was being taken.
The animal was accompanied by one of the fund’s volunteers. The woman treated the elephant’s wounds, stroked her and tried to calm her down.
Sook-Jai was hungry, so the driver had to stop to collect banana leaves and fruit for the elephant.
For the first time in more than seventy years, the elephant could do what she wanted herself, without fear of cruel blows with a stick.
She was cared for, supported and loved in a way she had never known before.
And then the unbelievable happened – Sook-Jai had tears in her eyes.
Did the unknown scare her? Did she have an awareness of a changing future and an intoxicating sense of freedom? What was going on in the soul of the elephant at that moment, people could only guess.
Soon, Sook-Jai arrived at her new home, a sanctuary she would share with other rescued elephants.
To everyone’s surprise, the blind and almost deaf elephant confidently got out of the truck and immediately headed towards the water.
It seemed that she understood where she was, and this inspired hope in all those present that at least 73-year-old Sook-Jai would spend her old age in happiness and peace.