Heartwarming Reunion: Elephant’s Incredible Memory Shines Through as It Recognizes Vet After 12 Years in Thailand

In a touching moment captured on camera, a wild elephant named Plai Thang displayed remarkable memory and recognition as it reached out its trunk to touch the hand of Dr. Pattarapol Maneeon, the veterinarian who treated him 12 years ago.

This unexpected reunion occurred earlier this month, highlighting the connection between the 31-year-old bull and the compassionate vet.

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In 2009, Plai Thang was discovered struggling through the woodlands of Rayong, eastern Thailand, grappling with a potentially fatal condition known as trypanosomiasis, commonly referred to as sleeping sickness.

Dr. Pattarapol Maneeon, arriving to treat the ailing elephant, encountered a dire situation—Plai Thang was close to death, exhibiting symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, and swelling on its face, neck, and stomach. The elephant also suffered from inflamed eyes, stiff legs and back, and anemia.

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Transported to the Forest Industry Organisation’s territory in Lampang province, Plai Thang received extensive treatment from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation staff.

After several months of dedicated care, the once frail animal was successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

Earlier this month, while patrolling the area, Dr. Pattarapol recognized the distinctive sound of the elephant he had treated over a decade ago.

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It is signaling to Plai Thang that the elephant responded by reaching out its trunk in greeting—a heartwarming moment marking its first contact with a human in more than ten years.

Dr. Pattarapol is confident that Plai Thang remembered him from their previous encounter.

Recalling the initial meeting, Dr. Pattarapol stated, “Plai Thang’s noise is unique. He was very aggressive when we first met, but over time, we discovered his intelligence and self-care abilities.”

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The recent reunion was described as a special moment, and Dr. Pattarapol hopes it inspires everyone to appreciate the dedicated efforts made in caring for elephants.

Elephants hold a special place in Thailand, being the country’s official animal. With an estimated 3,000-4,000 elephants in Thailand, at least half are domesticated, while the rest reside in nature reserves.

Read more Elephant News.

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