Meet the Elephants at the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary

The Elephants at the Sanctuary

Many of the elephants have previously been used as "begging" elephants in various cities or working at elephant camps in tourist resorts. The sanctuary gives safe haven to approximately 10 elephants. The number of elephants at the sanctuary can vary based on space available and funds needed to rescue an elephant. Read on to learn about some of the elephants that you may meet!

Duenphen - Full Moon

Duenphen is approximately 60 years old. She was caught from the wild at around 2 years of age which was not unusual at that time, although still illegal. She has spent the last 40 years of her life working mainly at an elephant camp entertaining tourists with tricks.

Duenphen likes going on walks, eating different kinds of trees in the forest, and having a bath in the lake. She also likes to wander around her large enclosure and enjoys her banana balls. She can appear a little withdrawn at times and does not seem to enjoy human attention and tends to prefer her own company.


Boonmee spent the early years of her life working in the logging industry before spending 25 years working in the tourist industry.  She was rescued from an elephant camp in Kanchanaburi in November 2012 where she spent years carrying tourists on her back and being chained to a tree in the evenings.

Her rescue was not too easy, but she finally arrived and her first day in retirement started with fresh green grass, juicy fruits, a short swim in the lake and a walk into the forest! Boonmee is one of the most friendly and gentle elephants. She loves to go for walks in the forest where she can forage lots and lots! She is also rather fond of her banana balls and enjoys being showered by the volunteers.

Sadly, Boonmee passed away after a sort illness in 2019. She spent 7 happy years of freedom at the sanctuary after her long life of abuse.

Pai Lin

Pai Lin came to the sanctuary in February 2007 after spending many years on the city streets. Upon first inspection, she was in poor physical condition, underweight, dehydrated and suffering from nasal and eye problems.

As a result of carrying a heavy ‘seat’ with possibly up to six tourists in it (this maltreatment is common in the tourist industry), she had several pressure sores and her spine is visibly deformed. Thankfully, she does not appear to be in any pain.

She is very gentle and sedate and tends to prefer her own company. She likes to go on walks where she can forage and enjoys getting into the lake in her enclosure. Pai Lin does like her daily showers from the volunteers and also likes to cool herself down by spraying herself all over with the water.

Kaew Petch - Diamond Glass

Kaew Petch arrived at the elephant sanctuary in 2014 from a beach resort after spending years in the tourism industry. As a trekking elephant, Kaew Petch was forced to carry tourist each day even though she was malnourished and underweight. Suffering from a poor diet and neglect and Kaew Petch now has a skin condition which covers 60% of her body and causes her to be extremely itchy.

Kaew Petch is a very curious elephant who follows volunteers and staff in search of food and treats. She enjoys her showers and loved to be scrubbed by volunteers as her skin condition cause her to be extremely itchy.

Interested in Volunteering with the Elephants at the Sanctuary? Then visit the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary Project page for more information on how you can help these amazing animals.