Elephants may be enormous creatures, but they are some of the most gentle animals on the planet. They are giants in comparison to most beasts, but these mammals are also tame and submissive.
Asian elephants, in particular, are considered to be the largest mammal in the Asian continent. They live on dry to wet forests and grassland habitats along South and Southeast Asia.
In some countries in Asia like Thailand, elephants are kept in captivity and are trained to mingle with tourists. Visitors from all over the world pay to meet the wild elephants, give them a bath and even ride on their backs.
Khum Min, an elephant in captivity in Northern Thailand, used to be one of those elephants until finally, he was set free.
He was in for a life of work, but he was eventually freed, thanks to the efforts of people who advocate for letting wild elephants roam free.
Back in 2010, as a part of the documentary Journey to Freedom by award-winning filmmaker Martin Guinness, Khum Min was released into the wild where he can be a part of a herd in the jungle around a remote Karen hill tribe village.
It was a heartwarming moment and a group of filmmakers was there to capture the exact second that Khum Min got freed from his shackles.
Letting Khum Min run free in the jungle should not be a problem. For one, elephants are creatures who are extremely sociable. They normally form groups of six or seven, led by the oldest female, the matriarch.
When herds of elephants come across other elephants, they usually join together to form a bigger herd. This is a trait that is similar to how African elephants socialize and behave.
As Khum Min waits for his shackles to be removed, his tail is visibly wagging, a sign that he is joyous about the occasion. Elephants are considered to be part of the ten most intelligent animals, after all. He must have known that at that moment, his life was about to change.
One by one, his chains were removed. He is calm as he waited for the guy to finish and finally when everything was out, he slowly moved away from the spot, ready to walk towards a life in the jungle.
Khum Min did not waste any time. He waggled his tail even more forcefully as he stepped towards the forest, excited to face a life of freedom.
The group watched as Khum Min happily trodded towards the forest. It is evident in the elephant’s huge strides and vigorous movements that he is joyful about the change that has come in his life.
Because of the fact that Asian elephants are slowly being diminished in number, these creatures should be encouraged to breed. However, they cannot do this without a safe and happy herd environment. They cannot do this in captivity.