Thursday, September 6, 2012

A new mahout on the team - Ta Khur

 Ta Khur joined our elephant project family at the beginning of July, coming in to mahout for Boon Jan, the beautiful independent mother of our mischievous calf Song Kran.  Jordoh previously had the mahout role for both Boon Jan and Song Kran.  However Song Kran was reaching an age where he was more confident away from his mother’s side and also more naturally curious, wanting to explore and play, so the decision was made that each elephant required their own mahout.

Before becoming Boon Jan’s mahout, we had met Ta Khur a few times when he visited base hut with Jordoh, but hadn’t had the chance to get to know him well.  He lives with Jordoh’s family and the two of them are like brothers, quite inseparable.  To us, Ta Khur is the friendliest and most interactive of all the mahouts.  He always breaks into a huge smile when talking to us, and is showing a lot of interest in learning the English words for as many things as possible.  

As the newest mahout, Ta Khur seems to be the one who does most of the running around for the other guys – collecting bamboo, staying with Boon Jan and Song Kran if they separate from the other elephants, and balancing precariously on Boon Jan’s back scrubbing while she bathes in the lake by the school (while the other mahouts all watch from the water’s edge rather than risk getting dumped in the water).  He mostly focuses on Boon Jan but also helps out with Song Kran and Pbee Mai a lot and seems to enjoy the interaction with the younger, more playful elephants. Ta Khur has a fun and gentle personality and if the first month is any indication, he will be a great mahout for Boon Jan.