The resilience of Mae Gorgae


Your continued support and commitment have made a life free from suffering possible for many elephants in Thailand. May is a month where we can celebrate mothers and their boundless strength and determination, Mae Gorgae is a beautiful example of just that.

Born in the early 1970's, Mae Gorgae hasn’t had the easiest life. She spent years dragging logs out of the forest in Thailand and Myanmar before working as a trekking elephant in Chiang Mai (a city in northern Thailand). Sadly, she may have undergone a “training” called ‘the crush’– a cruel and fear-based training method that includes physical confinement and isolation as well as food deprivation and brutal, physical violence. In that time, she also gave birth to her daughter Mayura. 

Born in 1989, close to the Thailand and Myanmar border, Mayura worked as a logging elephant in both Thailand and Myanmar for many years. While she was sometimes sent to work in different regions than her mother, the two were often able to reunite in their owners’ hometown during breaks between logging jobs. Most recently, she worked as a taxi elephant in Chiang Mai, carrying tourists on her back alongside her mother at a camp that gave them very little free time to spend together.  

Mae Gorgae’s fortune finally took a turn for the better when she came to stay at the ChangChill elephant venue in Chiang Mai. She lives there with her daughter Mayura, free from cruelty and suffering. No more logging and no more rides or entertainment for tourists. She lives a more natural life, just as she deserves, roaming and foraging freely in the hills and forest under the caring watch of her mahout and always with her precious daughter. 

Two elephants in a sanctuary in Thailand

Mae Gorgae (left) with her daughter Mayura (right). (Photo: Jittrapon Kaicome / World Animal Protection)