If there is a top contender for one of the most incredible and mesmerizing animals out there, it has got to be the elephant.
They’re highly intelligent, very attentive, and also very sociable. Even though they can also have an aggressive side when needed, it’s no secret that a lot of elephants in the wild are constantly being abused or hunted down because of their ivory tusks.
Some are taken into captivity for years and years as their sheer force is being exploited for labor work.
One of those elephants was Sook Jai, who is currently 73 years old but lived more than 50 years in complete captivity.
It was a life full of labor work and abuse.
It’s extremely obvious that this elephant was mistreated badly, and for a very long period. After more than five decades of going through an absolutely terrible life, Sook Jai’s life was about to take a turn for the better.
Aside from her old age, Sook Jai was also completely blind and deaf. The poor animal was helpless.
And unfortunately, it’s not an isolated incident. According to the animal organization Elephant Voices, there are an estimated 15 to 20,000 elephants today who are being (illegally) held in captivity in very dire circumstances.
These aren’t elephants that have found refuge at a zoo, animal park, or sanctuary.
These majestic animals are forced to do slave labor such as tourist trekking trips.
Luckily, the animal organization Elephant Nature Park heard about Sook Jai’s story. A number of people relayed some information and felt sorry for the poor animal, and they did the best they could to give as much information as possible.
One woman even took Sook Jai under her wing. Joan Baez sponsored her rescue and her care afterward at an elephant sanctuary.
A plan was set in motion: they wanted to rescue Sook Jai from captivity so that she’d finally get a taste of freedom after five long decades.
They were able to figure out Sook Jai’s location, and they immediately transported her by loading her onto a truck.
This poor animal deserves to be treated with respect, kindness, and affection, and she would be getting exactly that at her new forever home.
Sook Jai has actually been passed around from one cruel owner to the next, but this would be the final time for her.
Right away, the volunteers who participated in the rescue noticed that Sook Jai was physically abused.
Apparently, she had severe wounds all over her body and her head, some of which even had to be looked after immediately because they could’ve gotten much worse. And because this poor elephant is both blind and deaf, she did freak out a little bit when they attempted the rescue.
Luckily, other volunteers were able to calm her down a bit along the twenty-hour ride.
In the beginning, the poor elephant was so nervous that she couldn’t even eat. She was very malnourished and could’ve used the food, but the nerves must’ve gotten the better of her.
The trip didn’t come without its hurdles.
Just before night time, there was an icy and strong wind that caused the truck to shake around a bit. The elephant was notably scared, and the cold air also wasn’t good for her injuries.
During a quick break, the volunteers managed to create an air shield for Sook Jai to keep the wind out.
When they finally arrived at the sanctuary, the elephant’s reaction is absolutely incredible.
A tear rolls down her cheek, and it’s as if she realizes that her life of terror finally turned around into something beautiful.
It’s such a pure, precious, and heartfelt moment. A lot of volunteers couldn’t keep their eyes dry.
At this point, Sook Jai’s nerves started to dwindle down as well. One of the first things she did was find a water source, as the ride must’ve dehydrated her.
Sook Jai can now freely roam around in a beautiful elephant sanctuary, where she’ll get the care and the freedom she needs and deserves.
“Finally the day came to take her journey and when we arrived in the Park, Sook Jai reached up her trunk to smell her new home, sending low rumbles out into the field, tears running down her face,” the Elephant News YouTube channel wrote as the video caption.
Thanks to this amazing group of volunteers and animal organizations, Sook Jai can finally start leading a happy and free life.
You can check out Sook Jai’s amazing story and the rescue itself in the video below.
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