We at FoFaFiFl Club are trying to do our part to help eradicate the exploitation of animals in the name of tourism.
From February 2020, we have started sponsoring the well-being of a 28 year old Asian female elephant - Pearl.
Pearl was rescued and retired from logging by Elephant Valley Project (EVP) in 2013 as the owners could not take care of her. Instead of letting the owners sell Pearl off to people who would use her for amusement riding by tourists, EVP took her under their wing. She is now enjoying a life of freedom in forests of Mondulkiri.
We hope to meet Pearl someday!
We have adopted three orphaned animals in Kenya - two African elephants (Ziwadi and Naboishu) & a genetically-blind rhino (Maxwell). Read about them by clicking here.
An Excerpt on Pearl from the EVP Website
Pearl was our highlight of 2013. After a very difficult year we were delighted to finally get this wonderful little elephant to the Elephant Valley Project from Kon Niek, which is a district in the north of Mondulkiri. Originally we signer her in over September 2013 with a the help of a very kind donation from the Abraham Foundation (one of kindest and greatest of our supporters), however the heavy rains that year flooded the rivers between Kon Niek and Sen Monorom preventing us from safely taking her to the EVP. After a couple of months of having our best team look after her in the middle of the forest between two rivers, we were able to finally walk her into EVP and arrived in Jan 2014.
We introduced her to the heaven herd and she immediately hit it off with Ruby, Ning Wan and Mae Nang and started copying behaviors and eating everything in sight.
She is a feisty little elephant who dearly loves her adopted mother, Ning Wan, and is always at her side gossiping away about the latest goings on with the other elephants.
Rarely have we seen an elephant adapt to living in the valley as fast as this beautiful sole. She is certainly much preferring her days of bamboo and mud slinging compared to the logging industry where she came from. Her favorite daily activity is her morning bath where visitors to the EVP can see her rolling around in the river while getting a scrub from her mahout, Mr Yan.
Pearl is most recognizable by the fact that her behind is covered from lumps that come from when she was logging. She worked previously as a drag elephant pulling wood out of the Sre Pok river Basin in the Mondulkiri Protected Forest. As she was pulling wood along her mahouts/keepers would hit her behind to keep her moving leaving her covered in bruises and scars. However it is clear to us here that she has clearly forgotten about her past and is thoroughly enjoying living with her new found family.
Update from Pearl (Received in April 2020)
Since the end of 2013, Pearl has slowly, (albeit real slow sometimes) become more at ease with her surroundings at the EVP and finding her place within the herd. Pearl is touted to be the sassy one full of attitude, in fact that is probably the main reason why everyone likes her! Still by her adoptive mother, Ning Wan's side, Pearl's herd grew a little bit bigger this year with the arrival of new elephant, Gee Chreng. The uncertainty and apprehension didn’t last long, with Ning Wan acting as the buffer and doing what all good matriarchs do best, and Pearl came out of her shell and accepted Gee Chreng into their family. The team at EVP rest their hopes on these two elephants forming a close bond that could help them recover from the loss of Ning Wan, when they eventually lose their beautiful matriarch due to her aging condition.
Located down in the semi-evergreen Ou Chveng valley, Pearl likes nothing more than to forage for ginger roots and the many vines that hang low from the canopy. It is also where she can show off her bathing skills, completely submerging her head and body, using the bank and rocks on the river bed to wash all by herself - Go Pearl!
Fun Fact - As you may well know, female Asian elephants do not have tusks but something called tushes which is the incisor tooth that sticks out. Pearl’s tushes have always protruded somewhat longer than the other ladies due to an increase in hormones.
Stay tuned for more updates on Pearl...
Do let us know in the comments if you would like to help Pearl out by making your own small contribution and we will share the details with you.
After last year’s little excursion with the wild bull elephant, Pearl has been looking a little bit on the rounder side lately. Everyone’s weight goes up and down from time to time for sure, however Pearl seems to have stacked on an additional 200 - 300 kg this year. So while we cannot be 100% certain due to limited veterinarian services in Cambodia, we are starting to prepare ourselves that early this year there may be a brand new small addition to the herd…
Aside from a suspected pregnancy, Pearl has shown us that her memory, true to her species, is as sharp as a tack. Carrying on from where we left back in 2019 with the rewards based target training Pearl showed us how it can be done - confidently placing her front feet one at a time on the fence rail.
Towards the end of 2021, one of Pearl's long tushes that protrude from her mouth, a distinguishable feature of hers, broke off. Luckily it was a clean break. It can be quite common among elephants as they use them to break off bark and vines. With the tush now lost to the forest, it can raise superstition among some indigenous communities in Cambodia that the elephants themselves bury their tush or tusk if it were to break.
Photo Credits: Sofie Lyn, Jaiger O’Neill, Ian Rock