After being rescued from forced labor, elephants Jokia and Mae Perm had the longest running friendship at their sanctuary, Thailand’s Elephant Nature Park (ENP).
For 17 years, Mae Perm and her blind friend Jokia have been inseparable. But there’s just one thing the friendship couldn’t overcome.
Mae Perm was the first Elephant that ENP rescued in 1992. This week, Mae Perm passed away of old age
Lek Chailert, founder of ENP said in a Facebook post on the 7th April: “On my way to Bangkok I had an urgent call from Pom to tell me that our precious Mae Perm passed away this morning, and sleeps peaceful next to her beloved friend Jokia. Lately Mae Perm’s pace has slowed down, and we kept our eyes on her, watching her closely; she ate and drank normally, and still walked along to accompany her best friend Jokia to the field. As we monitor her for several days, we notice that she stands so closely with Jokia, side by side all the time and we think that from old age she might not want to walk much. Many of you will know that Mae Perm and Jokia always stand next to each other. Mae Perm is the one who takes care of her blind friend Jokia. We have always been concerned for the passing of an elder who cares for one younger, and how the younger will cope with the loss. We have tried to nominate a couple of elephants to join them, to find another friend for Jokia. They have been interested in certain family groups, especially Navaan’s. We introduced others such as Dani, and more recently Sri Pai and Thong Kham who seemed trying to join them. My heart breaks even I know that Mae Perm died peacefully, for she has left her friend behind. Every morning I wake up with fear when we have so many old grandmother elephant here, some very old and they walk so slow and some walk with no balance as Jan Peng, Bua Loi and Thai. Mae perm is our first rescued elephant. I rescued her in 1992 from the logging camp. When we rescued her she was so skinny and so sick, but she has a very strong mind to stand to live. Every day in the Park, whether or not she feels tired or not well, she will show her energy to her needy friend/daughter, and stand to support Jokia. It is a big loss of my beloved. Even I prepare each day for the loss, the emptiness and sorrow washes over me as a great wave. Rest in peace my old girl. We will see your adopted girl through her loss and care ever so gently and deeply. Thank you for allowing me to learn so much more about the unconditional love. We miss you terrible”.
“We gave to Jokia a long time to be with her great love, she stood over her for almost six hours, touching and nudging and leaning against the lifeless body of Mae Perm” said Chailert.
The people at ENP gave Jokia as much time to say goodbye to her friend as they could. Finally, they had to bury the body.
“Jokia did not eat much during the whole morning, and when she went to get some melons at the other end of her shelter, we took advantage of the moment to pull Mae Perm’s body out of the room and gently down into her final resting place,” Chailert wrote.
The people at ENP are doing everything they can to support Jokia through her grief, as they too grieve the loss of Mae Perm. “Jokia did come right over as we moved the body, and she touched Mae Perm, moaning painfully as her friend slipped away from her forever,” Chailert wrote. “We feel her pain”.
So do we!!
Elephant Nature Park: http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/
Save Elephant Foundation: http://www.saveelephant.org/
Mae Perm & Jokia playing together at Elephant Nature Park: https://youtu.be/E6zvixnSPFs
Touching Footage Of Jokia Mourning Mae Perm:Bottom of Form https://youtu.be/ZzDDQrIajHE
I am also taking part in The Enormous Elephant Run to raise funds for The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. You can get further details and sponsor me at Just Giving – The Enormous Elephant Run, Raising Funds For DSWT
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