Plai Thang, a 31-year-old bull elephant in Thailand, shared a heartwarming reunion with the vet who saved his life 12 years ago.
Plai Thang was on the brink of fatality in 2009 after he got trypanosomiasis (sleeping illness), a disease transmitted by biting insects and fatal if not treated.
The elephant was swollen all over his face and neck, had a high fever, and was losing his appetite. He was discovered in Rayong, Thailand, straining to move because his back and legs were sore. He was taken to the area of the Forest Market Organization, where he received medical attention from Dr. Pattarapol Maneeon of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation.
” Plai Thang was extremely hostile when we first met. His body was weak and he can not fight other elephants. It took a long time for him to heal, but we discovered that he was very smart and took care of himself,” recalled Pattarapol.
After months of healing, the elephant was released back right into the wild and the veterinarian thought he would never ever see him once more.
However during a current patrol of the area, Pattarapol recognized a sound he hadn’t heard in over a decade.
The unique noise was Plai Thang. It seems that humans aren’t the only ones with long memories.
The elephant recognized his rescuer and extended his trunk in greeting. Elephants bow to one another by twirling their trunks together. The elephant made a nice gesture as a way of saying “hey” to an old buddy.
” I remember the sound very clearly,” Pattarapol said. “Recently, we met again. We could remember each other and we welcomed. It was an extremely unique moment.”
Elephants are amazing pets. They have the biggest brain of any kind of land mammal, which weighs between 8-12 extra pounds– nearly 3 times the weight of a human mind. They use their superb memory to not just recognize those they have encountered previously, but also to protect the herd.
Their memory only improves in time and scientists believe they are as smart as dolphins.