In a heart-wrenching story from Thailand, Jokia the blind elephant cried and mourned the death of her best friend, Mae Perm, the first elephant rescued by Elephant Nature Park founder, Lek Chailert.
Jokia and Mae Perm were friends for 17 years, with Mae Perm acting as Jokia's eyes until the elephant’s death from old age.
“We gave Jokia a long time to be with her great love,” Chailert wrote on Facebook. “She stood over her for almost six hours, touching and nudging and leaning against the lifeless body of Mae Perm.”
Inseparable in life, inseparable in death.
Chailert said that Jokia would not let them take the body of her best friend away.
“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.
“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. We feel her pain. From today we will do every thing we can to help her though this most difficult time, and into the days of healing and new friendships.”
Elephant News showed heartbreaking video of Jokia missing her best friend, who was buried outside the enclosure:
In 1992, Chailert rescued Mae Perm, the first of many elephants that have been saved. Jokia came along in 1999. Both elephants had worked in the logging industry and were abused, according to the Elephant Nature Park website.
A mahout (someone who works with or tends to elephants) shot Jokia in the eye with a slingshot because she refused to work after not being able to attend to the calf she birthed; the calf subsequently died. Reluctant to work or obey, Jokia was stabbed in the other eye, blinding her completely.
When Mae Perm met Jokia, she used her trunk to touch Jokia all over, especially her eyes, and it became apparent to her that Jokia was blind. From that day, they became fast friends, and theirs was the longest running friendship at the Elephant Nature Park.
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