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How we rescued elephant
5:00pm Saturday 19th January 2013 in News
AN elephant in Thailand won’t be forgetting a Vale family any time soon after they rescued her following a lifetime of neglect.
The Blaine family from Peopleton, near Pershore, have dedicated a lot of time to working with elephants in Thailand, even selling goods in their shop, Mahouts – meaning elephant keeper – to support the animals.
Worcester GP Felix Blaine, his wife Sarah and children Joe, 12, and Natasha, nine, first fell for the elephants when they spent a week at the BLES sanctuary in northern Thailand.
On their latest visit to the sanctuary the family of four came across Somsri – a dangerously thin 70-year-old elephant – and are now awaiting her move to the BLES sanctuary in Sukhothai.
Mrs Blaine, who runs the fairtrade-registered shop, in Pershore High Street, said: “While we were over there as a family we got involved in our first elephant rescue.
“We source a lot of our goods from family businesses in Thailand and mahouts with some of the money for certain goods going straight back to the people in Thailand. We came across Somsri, which means gentle lady, while visiting one of the mahouts who produces keyrings for us. We walked a different route and she was there. She has been working all her life. She had been a street begging elephant and she was treated very badly and had lots of wounds.
“The current owners were being very kind to her but they didn’t really know what to do to get her better.”
To get Somsri to the sanctuary then required a fund-raising effort by the family, who posted an appeal on Facebook.
Mrs Blaine said: “We had to pay the people who had her as they had got into debt buying her and she couldn’t work. Within two days of the appeal being online we had raised the £4,000 we needed.”
To support Somsri, visit mahouts.co.uk or blesele.org.