Elephants Who Rehabilitated From Human Abuse Are Helping People With Their Own Traumas

Date December 6, 2017

Interaction with animals is known for giving therapeutic effect, but there are 2 sides to benefit from such communication. Spending time with people, especially those who give love and care is a good therapy for animals too. The place like this exists, and it is an Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Sanctuary foundation

It was founded in 1996 by a Sanguden "Lek" Chailert. “Lek” means something tiny, but this woman is a huge person for what she does. When she was a teenager she first witnessed the cruelty elephants were treated with, how they were used in the entertainment and logging business, and it hit her so much, she could not stand aside.

In order to tame elephants, people isolate and beat them, break their spirit, so they become obedient and pathetic. Some got separated from their families while being a calf and kept in a tight box with no chance to move! Elephants are well known for their high cognition level and sensitivity.

Their intelligence rivals with humans, which is fascinating. This is such a tragedy they have to endure indescribable physical and emotional suffering and pain being used by people.

People returning the debt to the animals

In Lek’s Nature Park they can finally enjoy freedom, rest and receive love they were so craving for. Lek is telling, that working with animals gives her so many positive emotions. People who work in the Nature Park are elephant’s handlers from tourism and logging industries. Lek comments that it is hard to fight the system, but facing and embracing a problem is a good start. She welcomes volunteers from all over the world to work in the Sanctuary for 2 weeks and make their own impact in caring for these big mammals.

Volunteer Jake Dorothy shares his story

One of the volunteers, Jake Dorothy from UK, have been pleased to work there and healed by the atmosphere of gratitude and giving. He shared his experience with “The Guardian”, telling that decision to go to Thailand and work in the Sanctuary came to him when he was struggling with major stress. He felt the need of harming himself, because of abuse he experienced in childhood. He tried a traditional therapy from a specialist, but it was not working and he needed some radical change. Helping to bath elephants, feeding them, cleaning for them, communicating with them appeared a big turnover inside him. It is amazing how these strong creatures try to fight their own past suffering, building family relationships again, have calves, and learn how to trust human. This experience helped Jake to handle his own trauma.

Lek is saying that elephants do not forget but they forgive! And this is the greatest lesson we must learn from them.

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