A wild elephant appears to recognize the man who saved his life over a decade ago in an immensely poignant scene. Dr. Pattarapol Maneeon had an unexpected yet pleasant meeting with an elephant he treated 12 years ago. Plai Thang, the now 31-year-old elephant, was very ill in 2009. When a group of volunteers discovered him in the Rayong forest in eastern Thailand, his odds of survival were exceedingly small. The poor creature was struggling to eat or drink water, let alone stand on his own, due to a variety of illnesses such as trypanosomiasis, anaemia, and stiff legs.
The elephant was promptly sent to the Forest Industry Organization, where Dr. Maneeon treated and cared for him until he miraculously healed in a matter of months. He was then returned to the wild in the same region where the rescue crew first discovered him.
The vet who cared for Plai Thang was investigating the area earlier this month when he found his old acquaintance. However, he was skeptical that the elephant would recognize him after so many years. In any case, the vet waved at him. And as soon as he discovers the man waving at him is the same physician who treated him 12 years ago, the elephant rushes to express his gratitude once more.
Plai Thang stretches his trunk to touch the hand that saved his life as he gets closer to Dr. Maneeon. A photo opportunity! The vet subsequently revealed that when he first saw Plai Thang, he recognized him because of the sound he made.
“I recall the sound vividly. Plai Thang’s noise is one-of-a-kind,” the vet told a local news site. “When we initially met, Plai Thang was really aggressive . He couldn’t fight other elephants since his physique was too weak. It took a long time for him to recover, but we discovered that he was quite intelligent and took care of himself. Recently, we met again,” Dr. Maneeon explained. “We recognized each other and exchanged greetings. It was a very momentous occasion. I hope it inspires everyone to value the work that people perform with elephants.”