On the banks of western Thailand’s iconic River Kwai, some of the world’s longest-suffering elephants are taking their final bow.
They were once forced to beg on the streets, at the end of whips and bullhooks. 25 years ago, members of our team were part of successfully negotiating a ban on this humiliating abuse.
Now, some of those long-ago-rescued elephants live at Elephants World – where famed concert pianist Paul Barton plays beautiful classical music for these intelligent, sentient creatures to soothe them.
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In Thailand there are almost no elephants left in the wild.
Decimated by being forced to become “war tanks” for bloody human combat, then logging machines for the teak industry, they were chained in the open under brutal sun and through deadly monsoons. Then came the begging, half-starved on trash and cigarette butts, performing tricks for a pittance.
It is no way for proud creatures to live!
It is no wonder Elephants World and classical pianist Paul Barton are so protective that they will not allow the elephants to be exploited in any way. Unlike at some facilities, riding elephants is strictly prohibited (tourists are only allowed to observe and help feed the elephants). Bullhooks and leg chains are verboten.
But, once they heard how we’d helped all those years ago, we were welcomed as friends.
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Rom Sai is one of the broken elephants that Paul Barton plays his piano for, a massive bull who was blinded when a tree limb impaled his left eye during his tortuous, endless logging days.
Paul told us how towering 38-year-old Rom Sai was prone to angry outbursts, no doubt due to the trauma and cruelty he endured, and how afraid Rom Sai’s care giver – his mahout – was for Paul to be near.
Then Paul sits down to play in the open air…
Paul plays the elephant’s favorite parts again and again.
They told us that the elephants there, who now number in the dozens, need to eat around one-tenth of their body weight every day, well over 10,000 pounds in all (4,500 kg).
It’s about the weight of a small helicopter – and of course there is the expense of medicine and veterinary care.
Elephants World is small. But they do amazing work. More than anything we want the elephants to be protected forever on this last leg of their journey and to be soothed along the way by the wonderful Paul Barton playing piano to them.
We can never thank you enough for caring about all creatures great and small.
Please give now if you can.
For the animals,
Brian and Gloria Davies (and Max and Flora!)
Founder and CEO
P.S. Another elephant is called Kammon. We feel such a special connection to her, and I think you will too. She was born in 1949 and we are nearly certain she was one of those half-starved, beaten elephants forced to beg on the streets of Bangkok. One of the very same elephants some of our staff helped save from a horrible life with the street ban nearly 25 years ago!
She is also one of Rom Sai’s favorite friends, the big bull I told you about who loves Beethoven. You can help make sure these music-loving elephants are protected and well-fed always, with your generous donation now. Thank you so much, in advance, for giving and for being the elephants’ forever friend!