Abused Elephant Stolen From His Mom Loves Swimming With His New Family
Mee Chok's life wasn't always this charmed.
He used to live in a dirty shack.
He was stolen from his mother when he was just a few months old, denied a life growing up by her side in the wild. Instead, he was chained up and shackled by his owners, who intended to break his spirit so that he could be used as a trekking elephant.
His only company was an older female elephant, who had no interest in caring for him. As a result, Mee Chok became aggressive, according to Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (BLES), based in Thailand.
"Mee Chok had wounds on his face and ears, was dehydrated, and thin," BLES wrote on its website. "He was lashing out all over the place, angry and confused by being confined and restricted." When BLES learned about Mee Chok's plight, the sanctuary worked to spread his story across social media - and soon, BLES was able to raise enough money to rescue Mee Chok from the grips of a bleak future.
Six years ago, Mee Chok arrived at BLES, just 20 months old, still a frightened baby calf - but little did he realize then that his life was about to change for the better.
Less than 24 hours after his arrival at the sanctuary, Mee Chok was adopted by the sanctuary's chief matriarch, Pang Tong. The older female elephant had also been a victim of neglect and blatant abuse - her former life was one filled with beatings, starvation and the death of two calves. When she first came to BLES, Pang Tong was aggressive and defiant as well - but ultimately realized that she was finally safe, blossoming into an affectionate, caring elephant.
Lom, another female, also bonded quickly with Mee Chok, becoming a big sister to him. Lom was once a begging elephant, raised on the streets. She survived on an unhealthy diet of trash and plastic bags. It took her an especially long time to learn how to be a well-socialized elephant, according to BLES - but now she's known as the life and soul of the BLES family, with an infectious personality to boot.
Mee Chok's anger quickly became a thing of the past as he settled into his familial unit with Pang Tong and Lom, who have remained by his side ever since. Mee Chok used to have a father figure in the form of Somai, an older male elephant, but he sadly passed away last December.
Another male elephant by the name of Tong Jai, however, has since taken Somai's place and continues to act as a guiding figure for Mee Chok.
The most touching aspect of their makeshift family is the fact that none of them are related - and yet, they've become practically inseparable.
One of their favorite activities to do together is to spend plenty of time in water, whether to take a refreshing sip or to splash around for fun.
Despite the hardships of their individual pasts, Meek Chok, Pang Tong and Lom have all turned out for the better.
Now they have nothing to look forward to but pampered days spent in lush Thai landscapes and hot days spent cooling down in ponds and rivers for the rest of their happy lives.
Want to help BLES continue doing good work for elephants in need? Consider making a donation or "adopting" an elephant here.
Watch this sweet video from 2014 of Mee Chok getting a drink of water with his family: