Name: Beautiful Lotus
Thai Name: Bwua Ngam
Where Now: Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary
Location: near the village of Baan Tuek in Sukhothai, North Thailand
For more Photos of Beautiful Lotus (Bwua Ngam) see them at: Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary
Beautiful Lotus’ story begins when Katherine Connor, founder of Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary, was alerted to a crisis pertaining to an elephant in desperate need of being rescued.
The elephant had been obtained by a camp and was being used to carry tourists along paths and uphill on very “laborious climbs”. She worked as a “trekking elephant” and had endured long hours of training and “ferrying” and all that that entailed. (It was also discovered that “her owners used her for forced breeding, a cruel and dangerous practice”.) It was not a happy life for Beautiful Lotus.
As Beautiful Lotus’ owners were increasingly neglectful, unkind and just plain “ignorant,” the elephant suffered greatly. “Foot rot” set in and the swelling became so bad that the elephant was “forced to walk on the sides of her feet”. She was beaten about her ankles (to hurry her along) by her impatient and cruel owners but that only “exacerbated her inflammation and infection,” crippling her more.
At this point her owners deemed the elephant useless. So they chained her, standing on concrete, alongside a busy roadway.
Beautiful Lotus filled her days watching traffic go by. (Sometimes kind strangers would bring her cucumbers.) Hour after hour she would sway her elephant body “back and forth” but she was never able to adjust her footing or to relieve her pain. As night fell she was transferred to a graveyard that was desolate, trash strewn and offered no “trees, grass, or water” that she so desperately needed.
On the day of her rescue by Katherine, Beautiful Lotus immediately responded to her new friend. “As Katherine readied her for the journey, she tossed her chain over her shoulder as if to say, ‘Come on, let’s go’.”
Needing no guidance the elephant stepped into the transport vehicle and lay her head down “on the top of the cab”, as she knew something very good was happening. (Her medical needs would soon be addressed and she would soon begin receiving treatment for her “chronic foot condition.”)
Upon arrival at the Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary the elephant became enamored by the forests around her as she had never had the joy of that experience before. For she had never been allowed to live the life of an elephant, as well she should.
Not being shy, Beautiful Lotus soon “devoured the Sanctuary’s papaya and banana trees, bamboo bushes, vegetable patch, pineapple plants and even the BLES Christmas trees”!
“A quick study”, she has taken to the workers at the sanctuary and knows how to “wait patiently by the footpath” for any treats “that will come her way”. “Beautiful Lotus grows even more beautiful with every passing day.”
For information on how to Adopt Beautiful Lotus see: Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary
photo credit: Peter Yuen