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 My Foster Elephant Max

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Posts : 188
Join date : 2008-06-04
Location : Portland Oregon, USA

PostSubject: My Foster Elephant Max   Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:25 pm









CLICK HERE FOR THE ELEPHANT NATURE FOUNDATION SITE
http://www.elephantnaturefoundation.org/go/foundation

This is older material below but I wanted to post it here to keep all my adoption records together. Max's story is below




— Maximus (Max) —

At 11' tall at the shoulder, Max is the tallest elephant at Elephant Nature Park, and is possibly the tallest elephant on record in Thailand. His birth certificate says he is around 45 years old, but his appearance and characteristics suggest he is about 70. Max began his new life at the Park in December 2002. Credit goes to Chas Begley and Rachel Jones of the charity Eleaid for investing capital in Max’s rescue.

Max has worked all the jobs that an elephant can, from circus performing, to logging, to trekking and street begging, even as a rental elephant for use at festivals, temples or weddings. When Max was a trekking elephant, he hated wearing the uncomfortable seat on his back, and would always try to shake it off, one day doing so with tourists on board, resulting in injuries. His mahout was not happy and took him up to the jungle and beat him and left him chained for a long period of time. Max got bored and hungry, managed to escape and went to visit a village and agricultural fields nearby. He did some damage to the water system and the crops. The villagers were not happy and threatened to shoot Max if they saw him again. Proving more trouble than he was worth, the owner was at a loss as to what to do with Max.

He next went to stay at a temple. For three years he was chained up by all four legs in front of the temple with a donation box in front of him. After many complaints of cruelty from the locals, the temple finally decided to sell Max. His new job was street begging outside of Bangkok, with extra work appearing at weddings and ceremonies.

On his way home ("home" being a vacant lot or garbage dump) from work one night, Max was hit by an 18 wheel truck and dragged for 15ft, resulting in a broken right leg at the wrist and other injuries. The broken leg healed improperly leaving Max with a limp, causing him to walk slower. It was soon apparent that street begging was no longer a career option. Max’s life was about to change again.

When Max was first spotted at the Surin elephant roundup in November 2002, he was very weak and underweight. Lek, Chas and Rachel were immediately interested, visualizing him in his former glory. He was an obvious choice for rescue. With a steady supplemental diet of sticky rice upon his arrival to the Park, Max has managed to put weight back on, but most of his time at the park has been part of a slow recovery. He is still fighting off an abscess in his cheek resulting from a pressure wound he acquired during his transport to the park.(He was too weak to stand, so he leaned against the rails of the truck for the duration of the journey.)

A very positive sign came in November 2004, when Max unexpectedly went into musth. Everyone at the park was surprised at how fast Max could move as he sent more than one mahout running! Typical of adult males, Max is not part of any family group, although he is very popular with the ladies. He can be aggressive with humans, but is very gentle with other elephants and is often seen with a group of mothers, aunties and babies surrounding him. He is truly the ‘grand old man’ of the park.


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