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Sappraiwan : Elephant of the Week at Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary – BLES : “Jewel of the Forest”

Name: Plai Sappraiwan

Affectionately Known As: Sappraiwan

Thai Name meaning: “Jewel of the Forest”

Gender: Male

Age: fourteen (in 2018)

Personality: Sappraiwan revels in his walks, exhibits gusto when relishing a tasty treat (banana tree stalks are a favorite) & now knows how to turn on the charm with the ‘ladies of BLES’. He also loves the attention he gets when receiving elephant spa treatments such as a day of elephant foot care. Oh, and the bull elephant may believe he carries a cloak of invisibility too, as he thinks he has the ability to hide all 5,000+ pounds of him behind a single tree! (see BLES photo below)

Formerly:  lived with his cousins, brothers, sisters & elephant mama; Sappraiwan’s elephant herd quickly grew from six into 14 to include  “three generations of elephants

Former home: Sappraiwan Resort (bull elephant’s namesake!), Thailand

Where Now: Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary

Location:  near the village of Baan Tuek in Sukhothai, North Thailand

Sappraiwan : See photos of this bull elephant’s arrival at his new home, BLES, Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary facebook post 02062018


Support BLES & Sappraiwan the elephant.


Sappraiwan has been a fortunate little elephant since the day of his birth for he never had to endure the life of a street elephant or begging elephant like his mother, Mare Saitong, and the six other members of her elephant herd who were rescued by a kind man in Phitsanulok, Thailand.

That man, Mr. Boon, was already operating a hotel by the name of The Sappraiwan Resort (later renamed Sappraiwan Elephant Resort & Sanctuary) & because he cared so much about elephants he knew he had to rescue these pachyderms and give them a home at his resort among the lush grounds of his property.

The years went by and the elephant herd grew and as Sappraiwan had reached the age when he was seeking a mate, Mr. Boon knew that it was time for Sappraiwan to find company with a new elephant herd. For too long now, the young bull had to be restrained with a leg chain and kept away from his own elephant family (as all members of his elephant herd were related). Sappraiwan was only becoming more restless and frustrated by his isolation so Mr. Boon kindly sought out a new home for the teenaged bull; the elephant sanctuary he chose was BLES.


They Never Said It Would Be Easy

Sappraiwan’s transition from The Sappraiwan Resort to Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES) has been a slow one, akin to a series of baby steps. As the teenaged bull elephant had been chained away from his siblings for a number of years (Sappraiwan’s “drag chain”  had been attached to his ankle for twelve years at the time of his move to BLES) Sappraiwan was understandably socially inept (in elephant society, that is). Along with that a “multitude of behavioral issues” had emerged. So, one would have to have the patience of Job to take on such an elephant. Yet, in steps Katherine Connor and BLES.

As Katherine Connor said, He may still be on his “recovery journey” but let’s not give up on him just yet.

Thank you, Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary & Katherine Connor for giving Sappraiwan a home where he can live free as an elephant again!


Image: by BLES, teenage bull elephant Sappraiwan thinks he is hiding behind this tree!


Sappraiwan’s Triumphs at BLES

Feb 15 2018*  With assistance from Steve Koyle, founder of Elephant Care Unchained  Sappraiwan’s ankle chain was removed. This after gaining Sappraiwan’s trust through “daily sessions of target training”. Sappraiwan was so eager to show what he had learned that he began to “offer his feet” through the protective railings before he was even asked!

Feb 28 2018*   More sessions of foot care with Elephant Care Unchained. “Baby steps for this big boy = an eventual full recovery.

March 16 2018*   Sappraiwan “captivated” all five of BLES’ “ladies” (The Gossip Girls, Pang Suai and Pang Noi ) with his first short encounter with them.

March 20 2018*   Pang Noi reached out to Sappraiwan with her trunk and for a frozen moment in time “the two elephants exchanged extremely gentle trunk touches…” Sappraiwan’s first friendship at BLES!  (Never rushing… Humans could learn a thing or two about dating from these elephants!)

April 20 2018*   Sappraiwan enjoys his walks with the BLES elephants more and more each day. He especially enjoys his daily treats from the “enrichment frame”

June 20 & 22 2018*    Sappraiwan has taken Pang Suai and Pang Noi‘s “elephant etiquette” lessons to heart. He has truly bonded with the two and has learned “to calm down” (part of his original “behavioral issues” which most likely stemmed, in part, from him not being able to “freely interact” with the female members of his elephant herd) and roam free as an elephant. BLES believes so strongly in “elephants helping elephants” and Sappraiwan is such a great example of this!

July 24 2018*   Sappraiwan is feeling more at home at BLES than ever before. Time spent with his mahout, Phi Gom, on “long walks” makes for a totally relaxing day!

Aug 25 2018*  Pang Noi is standing out as Sappraiwan’s Sweetheart!

Nov 5 2018* “Our stunning, teenage tusker, Sappraiwan, loves to eat banana tree stalks and has quite a unique way of doing it! He uses his long and impressive tusk to tear into the banana stalk, stabbing the stalk on to the end of his tusk and then using his trunk to rip bite size bits off of it!  Watching him do this and then seeing all the juice dribble down his chin, is just incredible!”

March 8 2019*  “Sappraiwan loves to dunk his head under the water and submerge for several minutes at a time…”

April 28, 2019* “Our teenage bull, Sappraiwan, has such a playful side to him!  (I think he thinks we really can’t see him hiding behind the tree!!)”

June 3 02019*  “The hills are alive with the sounds of Sappraiwan. It took us awhile to spot this stunning bull during our elephant walk today but we could hear him breaking branches and munching on all the fresh foliage loud and clear.”

July 5 2019*  “Our teenage bull Sappraiwan loves the easy life – his biggest decision today is where to start lunch – grass first or some tasty leaves???”

Oct 5 2019*  “We have been giving foot care to our #elephants – and they ( and we ) loved it. Elephant feet are so sensitive and keeping them healthy is vital to their health and wellbeing. All of our elephants have been #rescued from lives of hardship and very often, abuse. Their trust in us and their ability to put that past behind them and thrive never ceases to amaze and gratify us. Sappraiwan has the most beautiful feet and he loves all the attention

*Source: BLES facebook (search under ‘posts’ Sappraiwan)


Images: BLES owns copyright to all photos shown : teenage bull elephant Sappraiwan (in 2019); teenage bull elephant Sappraiwan thinks he is hiding behind this tree! (in 2019)


Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary – BLES

Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary BLES Facebook  @BLESelephants

Elephant Spoken Here Facebook

Instagram blesele

BoonLottsBLES Films YouTube Channel


Image by BLES, teenage bull elephant Sappraiwan


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