A week or so past I noticed that the animal sanctuary in Thailand that we volunteered at for a month last year was celebrating a birthday of sorts, but not the birth of elephant park itself, but rather one of it’s most recent residents, Dok Mai.

There At The Birth

By some incredible stroke of luck, we were actually there at the birth on that dark night as people clambered around the central platform where people spent their leisure time and ate their lunch, eagerly peering through the night in an effort to hear the incredibly loud noises that could be heard all around the nature park. The strangest thing, however, was that no one knew that this elephant was pregnant!

One of the many elephants at Elephant Nature Park in Thailand - The Day We Saw An Elephant Born

No Signs

Strange as it might seem, but no one actually knew that the mother ‘Dok Ngern‘ (translated from Thai to English as ‘Silver Flower) was actually carrying at that stage as all eyes were on another elephant that was showing the typical behaviour of a pregnant elephant, for example, gathering ‘Auntie‘ elephants around her as emotional support.

Given the sheer size of elephants and the physical makeup of their structure, organs and skin; it’s actually quite hard to tell from the outside that one elephant might be carrying a baby, and the only real way to know is to use an invasive camera system, but no one really wants to disturb the mother or the child, so for the most part potentially pregnant elephants at Elephant Nature Park are left to do things on their own terms.

Elephants doing their own thing at Elephant Nature Park, near Chiang Mai - The Day We Saw An Elephant Born

“New baby, baby coming!”

So when the sun went down and the echoing noises of Dok Ngern began to rattle around the valley that Elephant Nature Park sits in, no one could really decipher what the matter could be, especially since the most likely pregnant elephant was resting at the opposite side to the park.

Over everyone began to come to the side of the platform closest to Dok Ngern which just so happened to be where we were sitting that night. After a moment we all started to voice our opinions as to what might be the matter. Could someone be ill?

Leaving things to the professionals, we all stood and attempted to peer through the night to see what was happening in the elephant’s sleeping area when suddenly one of the mahouts came running up the stairs shouting; “Baby coming! Baby coming!“.

To say we were all excited would be an understatement, and there were a few who were busting to run down and take a look, but sensibly we all realised the seriousness of the matter and passed the word round that we should keep our distance and let the professionals handle business.

After a while the adrenaline died down a little and everyone went back to their activities or simple went to bed hoping that the sun would enter the elephant park early so that we might all get a look at the newborn, and we were right there when the sun rose – look who we found:

The hours old Dok Mai - The Day We Saw An Elephant Born

Saying Hello To Dok Mai

That small bundle you see above is the less than a day old Dok Mai, which translated from Thai to English means ‘The Fount Of All Flowers‘, a beautiful name for a spectacularly beautiful little girl.

With her being so young, however, we knew that it was best that we left her and the new mother alone and kept our distance for the proceeding days so that mother and daughter could adjust to the new long lives they have together at this incredible elephant sanctuary in Thailand, if not the best; but before we did leave the park at the end of our month long stay helping the incredible dogs that we miss so much, we did make sure to pop by once or twice to say Hello and Goodbye for the final time, and on one such occasion got to see Dok Mai meet her new mahout for the first time.

Dok Mai and her mother elephant Dok Ngern - The Day We Saw An Elephant Born
Baby elephant Dok Mai drinking from her mother Dok Ngern - The Day We Saw An Elephant Born
Dok Mai bording with her first mahout - The Day We Saw An Elephant Born
Dok Mai sitting as her mahout cleans her - The Day We Saw An Elephant Born

We’re So Lucky

We know that we’re incredibly lucky to have been there at the right time and the right place as baby elephants aren’t born so regularly and even more so in surroundings as nice as they are at Elephant Nature Park and we hope that we’ve been able to share the incredibly surprising experience with you with these pictures and our story of the day we saw and elephant being born.

Have you ever seen an elephant born in nature?