When it comes to winter weather our elephants are not unlike humans in that they must find ways to keep warm. Despite their relatively thick skin and massive size elephants, especially captive ones, are sensitive to a chill and humans are often unaware of an elephant’s inability to withstand the cold.
At the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand sanctuary elephants recently experienced the chill of a 42 degree (6 degree Celsius) temperature which is quite uncomfortable for pachyderms. But the staff, mahouts and volunteers had their backs (covering them with blankets, that is) providing their charges with the best of care!
After all, that is how life is for the elephants at the Elephant Nature Park and they were certainly appreciative of the comfort they received from the stoked fires in their midst and the oversized blankets placed lovingly over their wrinkly skin. This helped to lessen their shivering on those cold winter nights.
Noi Na received her blue blanket willingly, wrapped and securely tied around her elephant belly and legs. This helped the older elephant cope with the unpleasant temperatures.
But she soon became unwilling to drink (as many of the other sanctuary elephants did, becoming dehydrated) and eat, even when offered her “special treats of watermelon and rice balls”. As an aging elephant this behavior was most disturbing as Noi Na was already fragile and with the cold both “skinny” and old elephants can experience detrimental effects to their health.
But finally with the break in temperature, and after staying close to her barn and the blazing camp fires, she has come around (both in her desire to eat and in spirit). Noi Na, who had been rejecting even her “baskets of fruit and steamed pumpkin balls” (and other shredded & soft foods specially prepared for the elderly elephant ) began to feel her old happy self ( no doubt attributed to the rising temperatures).
Our elephant Noi Na is now looking forward to her meals and to spending her days in her favorite spot in the jungle or down close to the river. “She is now happily tearing the leaves off of her corn stalks and eating her baskets of shredded grass”, most notably, “without a fuss.”
Thankfully Noi Na is away from her old life as an abused elephant, living out her days at the Elephant Nature Park. And if a cold spell should again decide to swoop in on our elephants they can always depend on the kindness of the ENP staff and volunteers, endlessly gathering the warm blankets and firewood to ensure that only the best of care will come their way.
Warm elephants are happy elephants. Happy elephants are at the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary in Thailand! Your donations, through Save Elephant Foundation, help to purchase the special food and firewood and warm blankets that are provided to our elephants at ENP.
Resource and photo credit : Elephant Nature Park / “Facing the Chill”
Note : Noi Na is also known as Noi Nah at the Elephant Nature Park
20 of those jackets were made and donated to the park thanks to the fundraising efforts by Jack Lanting 14, who is written about on an earlier piece on this blog about his rescues of elephants to ENP
Please keep in touch and share any news of Jack’s endeavors. How could one not be inspired by Jack Lanting’s story; having such a passion for saving elephants & rescuing elephants at such a young age. And to have such a supportive mom as you, Viv, is just amazing. Even though we are in America the ocean that separates us is not so wide as one might think. Our email is under the “About” menu heading : Contact Elephant Spoken Here