Elephants in captivity are either born or captured and placed in a zoo, a camp, or a circus. They’re often ripped away from their families and imported straight from the wild. Sadly, most elephants in captivity are Asian elephants, and the method used to break their spirit is heart-wrenching. Unfortunately, many people in the world are so enthralled by the entertainment value these noble creatures provide that no one takes the time to consider the horrible abuse they’ve undergone to become subservient to those who own them like commodities. But when one elephant finally found freedom after 4 decades in chains, its reaction was extremely moving.For four decades, she’s had to endure various forms of abuse and the thought of ever being free again seemed like an impossible dream. For so long, her only purpose had been to serve humanity.
Her keepers had used a bullhook to hit her, which caused an abscess to form on her left leg. But the 46-year-old elephant continued providing entertainment for the people of Thailand.
It’s possible that she had once worked with loggers before it became illegal in Thailand in 1999. From there, her keepers transitioned her to a worse life in the tourist camp.
But she secretly longed to be with her own kind, despite the fact that her spirit had been crushed. Now the process of crushing an elephant’s spirit starts at the time that they’re babies.
The process, known as phajaan, originated in India and South-East Asia. To the locals, the ceremony came about as a result of the tribal shaman’s belief that he could separate the spirit from the body of the animal, rendering it docile.
For years, Wassana carried humans on her back and did their bidding while always mindful that a simple slip up would result in some serious consequences.
It’s no wonder that after years of abuse, Wassana developed the abscess that she did on her beaten gray skin. But the keepers justified their actions, claiming that if they didn’t do this, an elephant could be very dangerous to humans.
But the years of being chained up, isolated, and forced to perform tricks for humans, left her spirit broken and she had practically lost her will to live.
The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand Organization got her out of the tourist industry last July and took her to their sanctuary where she could recover in a more suitable environment.
Now she can indulge in a rejuvenating settlement where she’s the one who calls the shots, and every human is there to make sure that all of her needs, emotional and physical are tended to.
This is Wassana with her new BFF and we’re sure she has plenty of interesting and disturbing stories to tell her about the last 40 years. Meanwhile, PETA Asia and other organizations struggle to put an end to the abusive act of “crushing” for good.