Thursday, October 28, 2010


As it turns out twin elephants are quite rare.  There is a set in Sri Lanka and a set in Surin.  The Surin elephants are extremely rate; they are both males.  Interested readers can simple google “Twin Elephants”.
On October 8, 2010 Mai Kam Moon gave birth to twin girls.  I was invited to go and see them; what a blessing!  The visit was on the evening of October 22d and the morning of October 23d.  They were a mere 2 weeks old.  They are just amazing!   What fun watching the little ones learn!
Pick it up with my trunk!  Wow Mom you are stong!
The babies are really too young to do much walking so Mai Kam Moon is retricted to a shelter that was built for her and the babies.  In a few days, when their legs are a bit stonger they will have more freedom.  For now they are very happy to stick by mom.  They seem to be spending a lot of time figuring out just how their trunks, legs and feet work.  There will be a lot of photo’s posted in a few days.  I’ll modify this article when they are on line.
All feet (and trunks)
Mai Kam Moon is one of the elephants that made the “Journey to Freedom”.  She has been living very near the Karin village called Ban Mae Satop.  Her twins have made the national news and the tiny village is now on the map.  Fortunately the roads are such that the casual tourist will avoid the trip.   While the village deserves it’s moment I’m of the opinion that too many tourists would be a bad thing.
Mother and babies
Unfortunately there are many people who would love to exploit these twins.  Twin elephants doing synchronized circus tricks could be quite a draw. There may be a bidding war for these two little angles.   Maybe that’s why Lek has given them the nicknames Tung Ngern and Tung Tong. (bag of silver and bag of gold).

They are just too cute!

Baby elephants should stay with their mother.  They breast feed for about 30 months after birth.
Mother feeds the babies
Look for more news about these little angels in the future.

Confessions of a photographer:   I took way too many pictures on this trip to Mae Cheam.  The total click count was over 800.   I've culled them down and divided them into two albums on photobucket.   Photos of the people, scenery and all that are at:   Photo's of the elephants are at  Enjoy, but please do not copy or print.  If you want an image just contact me and I'll be happy to provide, that way you get quality and my copyright is protected.  Fair enough?

Abundant Blessings,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Chiang Mai Zoo Elephants

There is a sister article on the jerrynelsonjournal but I’ll try to keep one writing just about the elephants.  Fair enough?  On Wednesday I went to the zoo in Chiang Mai with the purpose of seeing how the elephants are treated there.  There is a shuttle bus that you can take around the zoo. 
The first stop is to see a magnificent bull elephant.  He happens to be in a small pen on the side of the road.  Zoo goers are allowed to feed him. You can purchase a small bowl of food for 20 baht.  The bowl consists of a few cucumbers and a piece of sugar cane.  This isn’t street begging, but it certainly leaves the uninitiated with the impression that it’s o.k.  If I can feed this elephant, why not the baby on the streets of Chiang Mai?    At least this one isn’t in danger of getting hit by a truck, but his life must be really boring!
Waiting for the next customer
The first thing I noticed about this elephant, his name is A Ka Sit and I’m told he’s 26 years old,  was is tusks.  They cross and are protected with some sort of padding.  I guess he’s safe from poachers there in the zoo.
The next thing I noticed, right next to where they sell the food to feed him is a display case of Ivory.  I don’t know about you, but that made my skin crawl.  I walked off and had to go back later just to get a snap shot (prove to myself what I’d seen).     
Ivory on display right next to the big tusker
  The elephant habitat is small but seems to be well cared for.  It’s certainly clean.  I saw another bull and one cow.  This bulls tusks were also impressive.  The two are obviously friends.  I loved the moment when she placed her trunk between his tusks and snuggled with him.
Elephant Friends
The enclosure has a gazebo or sorts.  As I was leaving the bull went to it and rang the wooden bell; one of his elephant toys no doubt.  While these elephants seem to be healthy it was hard for me to stay and watch them longer than necessary to get the photos.  They are too confined and without much stimulation.
Ringing the Bell
As the tour bus made it’s way toward the exit we came across elephant ride station.  Are these elephants kept with the two in enclosure?  I would hope there are at least two enclosures since there are definitely two bulls, but who knows.   Elephant rides are far from the worst that these creatures have to endure at the hands of mankind, but frankly I was surprised to see them at the Chiang Mai zoo.  
Elephant Rides Available at the Chiang Mai Zoo

On second thought after having seen the elephant feeding station and the ivory for sale, I really should not have been surprised at all.   

Abundant Blessings,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BLES is a Blessing

BLES is a Blessing!
I had the honor of visiting Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES) recently.  My first couple of attempts to write this post were total failures.  I had written way too much for a blog. Having said that, I would invite those interested to spend some time on  Photographs from our trip are now posted at
Mee Chok
Thanks to a couple of my face book friends, especially Mo in Australia I became aware of Katherine’s extraordinary project as BLES was rescuing Pang Dow.  This one really grabbed me and I decided that I had to go meet this elephant.  You can read her story at  Her recovery continues.
Pang Dow
(The spots are a skin condition that is being treated)

Maliwan and I took a bus from Chiang Mai to Uttradit where we were met by the driver from BLES and taken to the sanctuary.   BLES has three little guest houses, one of which was our abode for two nights.  It was wonderful.  I really love the serenity.  No TV, no radio, no phone, just peace and quiet.  We stayed two nights and then were given a ride back to the bus station.   While we were there we were fed three meals a day and the food delicious. 
BLES is different.  While there are facilities for a very limited number of guests, BLES is not a tourist camp, not at all.  It’s a sanctuary for elephants.  Most places arrange their venues to attract the tourist which is fine, especially if the elephants are well taken care of and the tourists are educated.  At BLES it’s all about the elephants.  A guest would ask Katherine if they could swim in the pond with the elephants or ride an elephant and her response would be something like “Do you really think the elephant would enjoy that”? 

Bath Time
Because these elephants are in training to be returned to nature, there is a minimum of human contact.   Twice a day they go on their walks where they forage for their food.  It’s remarkable to see them out in nature, just being elephants.
This is good!
Mare Boon Mee is in her 80’s.  She spent some thirty years without other elephants in her life.  As a result she doesn’t spend much time with the other elephants, preferring to stay alone. She is a very sweet gal who immediately became Maliwan’s favorite.
 Mare Boon Mae and Maliwan
Pang Dow is very special.  With her damaged ankle, her skin condition and her history of abuse she is still one of the most loving creatures I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.  I wish I had pictures of her the day before she was rescued so I could show you a bit of her history. 
Pang Dow on her walk
On the other hand, I’m glad I don’t have pictures of her before she was rescued.  It’s time to concentrate on her new life. At BLES she is loved and will be allowed to live her days in peace and dignity.  
Pang Dow & Pang Suai

Pang Dow
Pang Suii, Jerry and Pang Dow
I promised Pang Dow that I’d come visit her again.  It may be several months, but I will keep that promise!
I went to visit Pang Dow and while I was there I found a new appreciation for elephants and the people who really love them.  Katherine and her staff at BLES do a remarkable job.  Please support them in any way you can.
Abundant Blessings,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Elephant's Voice & The Black Butterfly

The Elephant’s Voice
The maiden issue of “The Elephant’s Voice” is off the press and headed for distribution.  Congratulations to all who had a part in making this happen. Our Editor has even put up a website for the magazine.  Check it out at
The First Issue!

The Black Butterfly
This is a true story; I care not how you interrupt, just know that what I write what is true.  We went to BLES for the weekend and while I was there Katherine Conner, the founder of BLES mentioned that there was a connection between Boon Lott and the black butterflies.   I asked her to explain.
Katherine told me the story of Boon Lott’s passing.  When he died Katherine was holding his head in her lap.   As his heart stopped a black butterfly appeared and rested on Boon Lott’s heart for about 15 seconds or so.  The butterfly moved on to Katherine, resting on her arm for another 15 seconds or so.   Since that time, when she thinks of Boon Lott the butterfly appears and gives her great comfort.  She knows.
I’m 66 years young and have never, never had a butterfly come and rest on me.   Imagine my amazement and the amazement of two other people who were there when, as Katherine is telling the story, the black butterfly comes and rests on my ear.   His message to me was simple:   Listen!
There will be a longer article about BLES in the next day or so.  I just couldn’t wait to share this with you.