Sunday, November 25, 2012

Elephant Personalities at the Golden Triangle- Part 4

At the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, there are 26 elephants, all of whom have their own very unique and individual personalities. I am going to tell you about another two elephants in this blog, Namchok and Pompui.

Namchok and Pompui are two elephants from a place called Surin in Thailand, who share a very special bond. One would think they are related by the way they act together but, surprisingly, they are not. They are inseparable and spend all their time together out in the jungle, bathing in the river, playing and going on treks.  They are both young elephants. Namchok is 12 and Pompui is 6 years old.

Pompui on the left, Namchok on the right

Namchok is quite a greedy elephant and wants to constantly eat. During the monsoon season, when the grasslands here are flooded, all the young elephants come down to the research site and spend their day here. Research can therefore be interesting as Namchok is the nearest elephant to our equipment and will frequently make a loud squeaking noise to try to get our attention. The reason she so eagerly wants our attention is because she wants us to give her some sunflower seeds (food rewards which we give to our research elephants). If she doesn’t get the seeds, she will take to throwing grass at the nearest member of the team - quite a brat one might say! Her aim is very accurate and there have been a number of occasions when I have been hit by a flying piece of grass. Namchok also has a fascination with my feet. Often when I see her, she will not leave my feet alone and will just keep smelling and tapping them - I don’t know whether she is trying to tell me something!

Pompui is slightly less greedy and a little quieter than Namchok. Pompui really likes women and, if you are near her, she will wrap her trunk around your hand and pull you close to her. She prefers it if you sit next to her and she will actually guide you to the floor so you can sit. She will then stick her trunk in your face and generally have a good smell of you. I really like sitting underneath Pompui and in the 10 months that I have been here, I have spent much time doing so :) 

Watching Namchok, Pompui and another one of our young elephants, Meena, is just a delight. They will play together for hours and exude sheer joy in the process. The three of them will run up and down together, climb on top of each other, roll around in the dirt, spray mud at each other, lay down beside each other and all the time make incredible trumpet sounds.

Pompui and Namchok are very lucky to have three mahouts to take care of them, Khun Prom, his wife Khun Nang and their son Tony. It is very rare to have female mahouts in Thailand, but Khun Nang is one of them. They care deeply about their elephants and it is so nice to see these mahouts interacting with them. Pompui and Namchok are part of a large and close-knit family consisting of one husband, one wife one son and two elephants.

Untill the next time……………………

1 comment:

  1. I'd highly appreciate if you share a link to other resources concerning this subject of course just in case you happen to know any of them.