An excited trumpet fills the air in the lush forests of Ban Santour. The keepers simply smile and sigh, “It’s Lilly again!” They have become all too used to listening to this trumpet every morning as Lilly is always bubbling with energy. Her energy levels replenish a touch extra after every night’s rest. The field staff at the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre (ERC) simply describes Lilly as being larger than life. She is loved by all and thoroughly enjoys all the attention that she is showered with! It is hard not to develop a fondness for this pachyderm, who despite having suffered at the hands of humans, has managed to forgive them.
When Lilly came to ERC in 2014, she was a different elephant altogether; she was beaten, wounded and dull. It seemed as if the mere burden of existing had become much too cumbersome for her. There were open wounds on her neck from the ropes and chains that were used to control her. This pachyderm was in dire need of love and care, which was in abundance at ERC from the other rescued elephants and humans alike. The already resident elephant duo, Ella and Erika, took her under their wing and made her a part of the family. Lilly too quickly accepted the companionship of the duo and transformed completely into a boisterous elephant.
The trio became great friends and nearly inseparable. While Ella and Erika are much calmer and poised in their demeanour, Lilly has no such apprehensions. She does not shy away from performing peculiar antics to grab their attention. This particularly happens when the elephants are together at the swamp downhill, which is abundant with mud for them to plaster themselves. Sometimes Ella and Erika can be spotted standing alone as they apply mudpacks, which can easily upset Lilly. Like a fish, she then bumps her way between the duo and starts splattering mud all over! The duo all too accustomed now to her antics make a reassuring rumble to Lilly, who just to be doubly sure of their attention gives trunk hugs too.
Being an attention-loving elephant also means that she enjoys being a social butterfly. When recently the herd was introduced to Daisy, Lilly was brimming with excitement so much so that she ran up to Daisy instantly as if to be the first one to say hello. While Daisy was standing apprehensively, Lilly excitedly ran her trunk over Daisy until she eased out, laying a foundation for their friendship. Lilly now makes sure to stay within a reachable distance of Daisy. She has taken upon herself to help this pachyderm enjoy the joys of napping inside the pool, tree scratching, mud bathing and err… eating from other elephant’s fruit buckets! If Lilly feels that Daisy has been standing alone for far too long, she along with the herd come to Daisy and give her reassuring trunk hugs and loads of dust baths.
Lilly’s love for attention is not just limited to her elephant buddies for she demands attention from her keepers as well. When out on walks, while all the other elephants usually huddle together, Lilly often likes to stray to explore different trees and twists and turns. This leaves her keeper with no other choice but to patiently wait till Lilly has had her heart’s content! In fact, recently as the keepers were giving Daisy a pedicure, Lilly decided to throw a tantrum. She stood next to the water trough in their enclosure and laid out her trunk straight over it, blocking the water for everyone and flatly refusing to move even a bit. Not until her keeper came up to her with a ripened banana, did she move!
In the last five years, Lilly has been able to win over everyone’s heart with not just her colourful personality, but also the remarkable journey that she has undertaken to heal herself. With every tantrum that Lilly throws, we are reassured that she has accepted Ban Santour as her safe home. We cannot wait to see her upcoming shenaningans!