A camera crew documented the journey of a young elephant finding her long-lost mother.
MeBai is a 6-year-old elephant from Thailand. Three years ago, she was torn from her mother and put to work in the tourism industry, giving rides to visitors from out of the country. However, due to her young age, she couldn't handle the work, and her health began to fail. Realizing she couldn't be ridden anymore, her owners agreed to retire her into a sanctuary under the Pamper a Pachyderm program. Then, volunteers took her on an arduous three-day trek, covering more than 100 km, to reunite her with her mother, Mae Yui. Here are some photos of the two of them when MeBai was only 1 week old:
Cute. (via Elephant Nature Park)
Cuuuuuuuute. (via Elephant Nature Park)
As you can see in the above video, the moment when they're reunited is about as tender as they come. Elephants really do have some of the best memories in the animal kingdom, capable of remembering dozens of friends and relationships after many years apart. Of course, there's no memory that lasts like that between a mother and her child.
The reunion was only supposed to be for a short visit, but after seeing them together, Mae Yui's owners also decided to retire her. Now, they're working with Elephant Nature Park to rehabilitate both elephants and return them to the wild. Let's just hope they can squeeze in a few baths first.