A wild Asian elephant appears to recognize a man who saved its life over a decade ago in stunning photographs, demonstrating the origins of the proverb “an elephant never forgets.”
Dr. Pattarapol Maneeon was working in Thailand 12 years ago when he came across ‘Plai Thang,’ a 31-year-old elephant.
Plai Thang was discovered severely unwell in 2009 by a veterinarian in Rayong, Thailand’s easternmost province. Plai Thang was discovered to have severe anemia, trypanosomiasis, and was unable to eat or drink.
A team of professional volunteers transported the elephant to the Forest Industry Organization, where Dr. Maneeon treated for him and nursed him back to health. He stayed in the refuge for several months before being released back into the wild.
This year, while traveling through the Rayong region, Dr. Maneeon saw the elephant he helped preserve strolling through the bush. The elephant appeared to recognize his saviour right away and went over to greet him with excitement.
After that, the elephant extended his trunk to greet the doctor. According to local press, the vet said:
“The music is still fresh in my mind. Plai Thang’s noise is one-of-a-kind. When we first met, Plai Thang was abrasive. He couldn’t fight other elephants since his body was weak. It took a long time for him to recover, but we discovered that he was incredibly intelligent and self-sufficient. We recently reconnected. We recognized each other and exchanged greetings. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I hope that it inspires others to value the work that individuals undertake with elephants.”
Elephants are famed for their incredible memory. This aids their survival in the wild by informing them of possible food sources, which animals and elephants are friends and adversaries, and how to avoid potential risks. According to the Elephant Facts website:
“In comparison to the human brain, an elephant’s brain is more denser. The memory-related temporal lobes in mice are significantly more developed than those in humans. Elephant lobes also fold more than human lobes, allowing them to store more information and giving them a great memory.”