In a rather rare yet adorable incident, a wild elephant recognised the veterinary who had treated him 12 years ago. The 31-year-old mammal remembered his vet Dr Pattarapol Maneeon. Apparently, he also reached out to the human with his trunk after seeking his attention by making a distinct sound. The incident took place in Thailand.
The first meeting between the elephant and Maneeon was back in 2009, when Plai Thang was sᴇᴠᴇʀᴇʟʏ ɪʟʟ as he was suffering from ꜰᴇᴠᴇʀ, ʟᴏss ᴏꜰ ᴀᴘᴘᴇᴛɪᴛᴇ, sᴡᴇʟʟɪɴɢ ᴏɴ ꜰᴀᴄᴇ, sᴛᴏᴍᴀᴄʜ, ᴀɴᴅ ɴᴇᴄᴋ. Further, he was also going through a ᴘᴀʀᴀsɪᴛɪᴄ ᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ and had also got ɪɴꜰʟᴀᴍᴇᴅ ᴇʏᴇs, sᴛɪꜰꜰ ʟᴇɢs ᴀɴᴅ ʙᴀᴄᴋ and ᴀɴᴀᴇᴍɪᴀ.
Doctor Pattarapol arrived to treat the sᴛʀɪᴄᴋᴇɴ jumbo, which was ‘close to ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ’. The frail animal was taken to the Forest Industry Organisation’s territory in Lampang province to be treated by staff from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
He was released several months later after recovering.
Early of March, Doctor Pattarapol was patrolling the area when he said he recognised the distinctive sound of the elephant he encountered 12 years ago. The elated vet, said that he was overwhelmed by the gesture and recognised Plai Thang with his distinct sound.
‘I remember the sound very clearly,’ Doctor Pattarapol said. ‘Plai Thang’s noise is very unique. Plai Thang was very ᴀɢɢʀᴇssɪᴠᴇ when we first met. His body was weak and he could not fight other elephants. It took a long time for him to heal, but we learned that he was very smart and took care of himself. Recently, we met again. We could remember each other and we greeted. It was a very special moment.”
‘I hope it encourages everybody to appreciate the work that people do with elephants,’ Doctor Pattarapol said.
Elephants are the official animal of Thailand and there are an estimated 3,000-4,000 of the animals living in the country. Of this figure, at least half are domesticated, while the remainder live in nature reserves.