On March 13, 2013 a beautiful elephant goodbye happened when a lovely soul left us and walked into the spirit world – now forever free! Somsri – believed to be over 70 years old spent her entire life as a working elephant. Chained at night – the scars on her ankles a clear reminder of her constant suffering. She was rescued by BLES Elephant Sanctuary in February and spent the last few weeks of her life surrounded by people who loved her. She was frail and malnourished after years of work and neglect – her body too worn to recover. This is Katherine Connor’s moving tribute to a dear but never forgotten elephant.
Katherine Connor – Founder of BLES – March 15, 2013 – It has taken me a couple of days to gather myself and break this news to you of a beautiful elephant goodbye …
The passing of a loved one, whether they have been in your life for decades or just a few weeks, is never easy to come to terms with.
On the 3rd February 2013, BLES rescued Somsri from a devastating existence. She was chained by both her front and back feet, in her own excrement and left to waste away. From the very moment she arrived at BLES, Somsri lived her life to the max. She stopped existing and started living, walking with her head high and proud.
On the 24th February 2013, Somsri was rushed to the elephant hospital in Lampang, after a sudden decline in her health. Somsri received excellent care from the vets at the hospital and was making steady progress.
However – on the 13th March 2013, Somsri’s health took another turn. She collapsed and was unable to summon the strength to ever stand again. Watching life fade from eyes so wise is one of the hardest things to go through. Somsri, was old, she was very underweight and very ill. We knew this when we welcomed her into our family and although none of us whispered the words, I think we were all aware our time with Somsri would be short.
Thought to be in her seventies, Somsri served as a trekking elephant, traveling from one tourist camp to another for most of her life. This all changed in January 2013, thanks to BLES supporter Sarah Blaine and her family, who heard Somsri’s silent cries for a helping hand and gave it to her. A campaign to raise the funds needed for Somsri’s rescue was launched on Facebook and 28 hours later the total amount needed had been raised.
People from all walks of life, from all around the world, fell in love with sweet Somsri and followed her journey from Pattaya to BLES via updates on the BLES facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Boon-Lotts-Elephant-Sanctuary-BLES/204190776464 fan page. It was so wonderful to see so many individuals coming together and share every high and low with her. To read the hundreds of messages full of love and healing energy and to know she was able to enjoy just a snippet of the freedom that was so rightfully hers – it fills my heart with happiness and gratitude.
Somsri had obviously been fighting a chronic infection for a long time and sadly, by the time she came to us, it was just too late to turn things around. However, for me, the rescue of Somsri has been a life lesson in appreciating all the little things around me. She knew her days here would be few and I will always smile when I think of her hiding in the bamboo bushes behind our guesthouses, A mouth full of green, a trunk full of green and surrounded by big bushes – bigger than she was of beautiful green …
Somsri’s Last Picture
Her days with us were few, but the beautiful moments were many. Rest now darling Somsri. You are in peace, free from this world that was so cruel to you, to walk on and on and on. Hold that head high and smile, as we will when we remember you.
Friends, you did something incredible by being a part of Somsri’s rescue. You gave this old lady the chance to smell grass, play in the mud, throw dirt and sleep under the stars again! And at the end she had a beautiful elephant goodbye.
Be Proud – xxx
Somsri is buried at BLES – the one place in her long life where she knew happiness and love!