When you love someone, you will do everything in your power to protect them from harm. That’s exactly what happened in the elephant sanctuary when this little hero named Kham La tried to save her human best friend.
Although this video surfaced in 2016 on the ‘elephantnews’ YouTube channel, it continues to touch the hearts of those who see it. The footage shows Kham La, one of the youngest residents at this sanctuary, coming to the rescue of a man she thought was drowning.
The man was Darrick Thomson, one of the co-founders of the Save Elephant Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, who had formed a close bond with the elephant. The foundation operates the Elephant Nature Park, where the video was taken.
In the clip, Darrick can be seen swimming in the river as a herd of elephants was strolling by. The man saw his friend Kham La by the shore and called out to her. However, the elephant interpreted his calls as a sign of distress, so she raced towards him and offered him her trunk. Kham La thought he was being washed away by the current and used her body to shelter him. The elephant ‘rescuing’ Darrick is one of the sweetest animal-human interactions you will ever see!
One Twitter user named Ben Goldsmith shared the video on the social media platform and made a poignant remark about the encounter.
“This young elephant spots a man he thinks is drowning in the river, and rushes across to save him, so tenderly. We are so lucky to share the world with such creatures. They are so unlucky to share it with us,” he wrote. We couldn’t have said it better.
Many people were touched by the elephant’s actions and expressed their thoughts on the thread.
“It’s sad when animals often show more love and compassion for humanity than we do… think about that!” King Gargantuas wrote.
“Animals have far more compassion and understanding than humans. They have a complex range of emotions, but somehow don’t have a lot of the negative ones we do like judgment, self-pity, hatred, etc,” said Marla Tauscher.
The viral video by the elephant sanctuary has amassed over 16 million views on YouTube ever since it was posted on October 13, 2016.
This isn’t the first time the sanctuary captured Kham La’s deep affection for Darrick. In this footage, it can be seen that the man simply has to call her name for her to drop everything and run to greet him. In another video, Kham La can be seen ‘holding hands’ with Darrick as she led him around the park.
As it turns out, there’s good reason Darrick receives special treatment from this baby elephant. In 2015, Kham La and her mother, Bai Teoy, were among the 19 elephants rescued from the tourism industry. Before being brought to safety, the then 4-year-old elephant had been made to endure cruel training referred to as “crushing” under her captor’s hands. Darrick understood that she must have been so traumatized, so he did everything he could to make the elephant forget the pain and taught her to trust humans again.
“Since he rescued Kham La, he spent time to heal her from the mental [anguish] and has shown love to her,” the staff said. “It’s not long after that, she [made a] strong bond with him, and accepted him to be part of her herd.”
The elephant sanctuary has rescued many, most of whom are old and physically compromised. The staff allows them to roam free and and form bonds among themselves. Their mission is simple yet beautiful: “We believe that if we treat animals with love, the animal will paid back to us with love too.”
Watch the video below to see the sweet moment Kham La “rescues” Darrick in the river.
These majestic animals truly have the purest souls, and they don’t deserve to suffer from the cruelty of humans. Help care for Kham La and other mistreated elephants by making a donation the elephant sanctuary: Save Elephant Foundation.