Recently rescued Ruby, everyone’s favourite elephant proved that she was well and truly settling into her new home when she started to behave – or rather misbehave – just like a normal elephant, but caused more than a minor headache for staff at the Globalteer supported Elephant Forest Project where she now lives.
Feeling a bit peckish one night, Ruby managed to break out of the project and went off in search of a tasty snack. Unfortunately for staff at the project in Eastern Cambodia’s remote Mondilkiri Province, Ruby quickly found the perfect way to satisfy her appetite – by munching through $50 worth of bananas at a neighbouring plantation!
Elephants at the project are allowed to roam freely during the day under the watchful eye of their trained mahouts, but at night they are confined in order to prevent them from fulfilling one of their most natural urges – namely hunger – and damaging other people’s property.
In the worst case scenario this could result in costly damages or even injury to the elephants. Despite being securely but humanely chained up at night, elephants can show remarkable intelligence and incredible resourcefulness when it comes to the urge for a midnight feast.
As Jim Elliott, Globalteer’s General Manager explained after a recent trip to the project,
“When an elephant knows that the tree it is tethered to is too big to knock down, they will find another smaller tree within easy reach, and knock it over against the bigger tree in order to dislodge it. You can literally watch them sizing up all the nearby trees and working out the distance and the angle they need before they take a run at it!”
Thankfully the project quickly raised enough money to pay the banana plantation owner for the damaged crops and staff will be keeping an extra close eye on Ruby from now on.
If you are interested in finding out more about Ruby, please read "Ruby the elephant finally rescued". You also might like to find out more about the new budget accommodation at the Cambodia elephant sanctuary project by reading our article "Cheaper and easier to volunteer with Cambodian elephants."
Photo: Monica Butler