Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Elephants are some of the tamest and most intelligent mammals on the planet.
They are usually living in the wild, especially in countries like Thailand where they are highly regarded creatures.

However, there are also elephants that were captured and chained for entertainment purposes.
One of these unfortunate elephants is the legendary Thai bull elephant named Thong Bai. The majestic elephant has been famous throughout the country and entertained tourists for over 40 years.

Lek Chailert, founder of The Elephant Sanctuary, advocates for the safety and rescue of elephants. He shares the story of Thong Bai in his Facebook posts and tells the story of this incredible creature.

“More than forty years he has served people, and he deserves his freedom,” Lek writes on his post.

After over four decades, Thong Bai finally gets released from his chains and is now free to roam.

Thong Bai is a privately owned elephant that has been in various advertisements in Thailand.


He has appeared in beer ads, and movies and mostly participated in weddings.

The elephant is being taken care of in Surin province, and a year before the animal’s release, Lek brought Khun NuNa Silpa-archa to the province to see Thong Bai and other elephants.

The guest witnessed Thong Bai’s majestic presence and the elephant’s current situation.
What she saw tugged at her heartstrings and she decided to help the elephants in the area.

“After she saw him, she began to seek a way to help him and to bring him greater respect and freedom,” Lek shared.

It was a moment that led to Thong Bai’s eventual release and freedom. Khun NuNa Silpa-archa did her best to help the elephants and unchain them. She succeeded a year later.

Thong Bai’s owners and the elephant advocates met and reached an agreement.

The old elephant would get an enclosure where he could live without chains.
His new home would be a part of the Surin Project, which works to provide improved living conditions for working elephants and the economic situations of their mahouts.

Through a community effort, Thong Bai’s home was built and he was released into the said enclosure. The Thai Beverage company lent a helping hand by providing funds for the construction of the legendary elephant’s shelter while the Surin government took care of the land.

After the joint efforts of many organizations, Thong Bai’s new home finally materialized.

The home built for him is a strong and sturdy place where he can comfortably roam around safely and happily, free of chains and working. The enclosure even has a fountain, more than enough mud, perfect shade, and lots of areas for him to walk around.

“The day that everyone longed for has finally arrived. Over four decades of shackles and at last release,” writes Lek. “Thong Bai, the Legend of Surin, is free from his chains. We welcomed him to his new home today. He appeared uncertain and nervous of his new freedom and even shy to explore without being told what to do.”