Rescued 8 December 2016
Gaew Ta means “Darling”, and a darling she is! This polite, peaceful and beloved elephant is in her 50s and most notably, she is blind.
Despite her loss of sight, Gaew Ta is able to walk around the sanctuary with the help of her loving mahout “Moss”, who is her eyes and guides the elephant around the sanctuary safely using his voice. You will often see her tap and touch the ground before taking a step to ensure it is safe.
Gaew Ta moved to the sanctuary on December 8, 2016, when she was released from the heavy work of elephant riding for tourists. Previously, she worked even harder as an elephant in the logging industry in the Nakhon Si Thammarat province in Southern Thailand.
As soon as she arrived, we started treating her eye injury symptoms, hoping that one day she would be able to see again. However, on February 14, 2017, Dr. Rui Oliveira, the world renowned vet ophthalmologist came to check Gaew Ta at the sanctuary, and shared the bad news that her sight would nor return due to the seriousness of her eye injury which was caused by a slingshot. In addition, we found burn marks on her body from smoking cigarettes. We also found a deep hole in the forehead, which would have resulted from the old mahout using a hook to control her.
Despite her dark past and condition, Gaew Ta is making the most of her new life at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary where she can feel safe. With great love and care, both physical and mental, our team is helping to relieve Gaew Ta’s pain and to offer her a simple and peaceful life in nature, as it should be.