In February of this year, Khun Amy Bushell witnessed a disturbing sight. While visiting Lanta Island, she came across a malnourished elephant tied to a tree in blistering heat. Immediately, she contacted the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand. Volunteers with the organization made preparations to visit the elephant, named Phang Duan.
After traveling many miles across the sea, the volunteers found the elephant in a heartbreaking state. As OneGreenPlanet reports, Phang Duan was painfully skinny, had an infected wound on her leg, and was weak and dehydrated due to the heat. Furthermore, she was shaking out of distress. The mammal couldn’t have known that those people would rescue her. But she soon became aware of this fact.
Volunteers wasted no time untying Phang Duan and loading her into a pickup truck. She has since been transported to an animal sanctuary, where she will live out her life. Because the elephant received her name after having her tail amputated (“Duan” means “maimed” in Thai), she was also gifted a beautiful new name: San Tong.
According to her former owner, San Tong worked in the logging industry in southern Thailand for many years. Afterward, she was moved to Krabi, where she walked the streets to sell bananas. Sometimes, she was forced to endure hours of bathing with tourists every day.
Like many elephants, Phang Duan had a hard life. But now, after years of exhausting work and intolerable living conditions, she has found freedom and love. Hopefully, San Tong will never again know the feel of chains.
If you feel inspired by this story, consider donating to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary here.
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Images Credit: Phuket Elephant Sanctuary