#WATWB: The Elephant Whisperer

Posted: 2018/09/28 in Blogging
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There is a woman from Thailand named Lek Chailert who has dedicated her life to rescuing tortured elephants. She grew up in a small hillside village north of Chiang Mai where large scale logging was practised. Elephants were used by loggers to transport incredibly heavy loads.

When she was a student, Lek used to see the elephants cut and wounded and sick, and she sought to find out what was happening to them. She could hear elephants screaming in the forest but, being a student, was not allowed to go into the logging camp. One day she was taken into the forest by one of the elephant keepers, and that was when she witnessed the shocking horror of what was happening to them. The horror that would change her life.

There was an elephant hauling a log up the hill with a man riding on its back. Every time the elephant tried to haul the log, the man would step on a hook on its head and wound it, drawing blood. The man was also cutting its back with a knife. It was screaming.

Lek was speechless. It was her first time to see the giant animal tortured so badly by human beings. Shaken, she went back to the village for elephant medicine and came back to treat the wounded animal.

The elephants were used not only for logging but also for entertainment in circuses and tourist parks.

Baby elephants were put in a structure called “crush box”, which is a small, rigid trap with no room for turning around. They were then beaten and tortured mercilessly until they learned to obey their human masters. Afterwards, they were taken to the circuses for entertainment, obeying commands, playing with hoops, or being ridden by tourists in tourist parks for a fee, etc.

Lek wondered why humans expected so much from the animals. She made it her mission to rescue them. She went to the media and exposed the loggers. She founded Save Elephant Foundation.

An American actress, Ashley Bell, heard about her work and joined her. They have since worked together on a documentary called Love and Bananas about the rescued elephants and the ordeals they went through.

The animals she has saved are very grateful and when they see her they run to her and cuddle her.

Lek’s rich story can be found here.

Elephant Whisperer

Lek Chailert, BBC

This is the 17th celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for this month are: Shilpa Garg, Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Sylvia Stein and myself..


To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.


  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List
  1. Dan Antion says:

    Thank you for sharing this story, Peter! Elephants are such magnificent animals. I can’t imagine how people can inflict harm to them. I read stories like this, and I can only hope that there are enough people like her to save these beautiful animals before they are gone as a species on earth.

    • Peter Nena says:

      I have the same hopes. It is terrifying to read stories about animal abuse. Lek is a powerful human being for doing what she did. Thank you, Dan.

  2. Susan Scott says:

    Thanks Peter. May there be more like Lek who witness barbarity and seek a way to end it. And good on the US actress lending a hand. True heroines. I hope to watch the BBC video and other link at some stage. Just not right now. Thank you for co-hosting this month and have a great weekend.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Thank you, Susan. Some people do wonderful things that even animals remember with joy. Those elephants are so happy and excited when they see her. Nothing can stop them from reaching her. It is amazing. Have a great weekend as well.

      • Susan Scott says:

        I agree Peter – nothing more wonderful than seeing an animal respond with love to its benefactor.

      • Peter Nena says:

        It warms the heart beyond help. It is the way dogs are when you are nice to them. You could cry out of sheer joy. There is no greater sense of gratitude than that of an animal. Thank you again.

  3. bikerchick57 says:

    I watched the “Love and Bananas” video. It warmed my heart at the end when Lek told Ashley that she was part of the herd and they were both surrounded by elephant trunks. The work that these two have done to save these elephants is commendable. They are magnificent creatures that deserve their freedom and a life without pain and torture. I hope Lek and Ashley continue the partnership that is loving toward elephants.

    • Peter Nena says:

      It’s touching how the elephants appreciate the efforts made to save them, how grateful they are. You wonder why some people would torture such animals. Thanks.

  4. Kalpana says:

    It takes one brave and dedicated person to make a change. What a wonderful story this is. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I think elephants are so intelligent and majestic, how anyone can mistreat any animal is difficult for me to fathom. What Lek is doing is fantastic, I think I have found my new hero! Thanks so much for sharing this and for being a part of #WATWB!

    • Peter Nena says:

      Hi Belinda. Perhaps no other creature recognizes kindness the way animals do. They never forget. The best of friends. Lek is my hero too. Thank you.

  6. Where do you find such inspiring stories from, Peter? This one almost made me cry. We humans can be worse than our own nightmares! But kind and selfless people lik Lek still give us hope. Thank you for sharing this story 🙂

    • Peter Nena says:

      Thank you, Pradita. There are still rays of light among us. Risking it all to save even just one animal or person. When everything else seems dark, they are still a reason to smile and look forward to tomorrow. Knowing they are out there is indeed encouraging. Thanks.

  7. I did read this post and shared the story on facebook. Her video is so moving. Thank you so much for sharing her passion and commitment Peter! I hope you are well my friend!!

  8. JoAnna says:

    I rarely use the word, adore, but that’s how I feel about Lek and her work. Adore, admire, love… she is a saint in my eyes, and in those of the elephants who deserve all the help they can get.

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