The two are seen joyfully flapping their ears and caressing each other with their trunks after their 62-mile trek through the Thai jungle.
When Me-Bai was three and half years old, she was sold to provide rides for tourists in Thailand. For three years, she didn’t get to see her mother who also worked in the trade. It’s especially tragic since female elephants prefer to stay in herds until they die, forming deep bonds. They are rarely separated before the calf reaches the age of five years.
According to Elephant News’ YouTube channel, the tiny elephant left the tourism industry ‘because she [Me-Bai] was too young [and] began to lose weight and could not carry the tourists any longer’. Me-Bai was recently rescued and transported to the refuge following a four-day, 62-mile (100-kilometer) walk in the scorching sun.
‘Me-Bai was nervous and wary of people when she first arrived at the sanctuary, but she quickly learned that her new caretakers had no intention of abusing her in any way,’ the sanctuary writes.
According to National Geographic, she was initially apprehensive of people but quickly adapted to her new surroundings.
When workers discovered Me-Bai’s mother worked in the adjacent tourism business, the proprietors agreed to retire Mae Yui so she could join her children at the refuge.
The emotional reunion between the two was captured on video for us all to enjoy.
The video shows the elephants caressing one another with their trunks and flapping their ears in pleasure.
After spending an emotional half-hour together, the caretakers suspected they may be afraid of being separated again. When elephants are disturbed, they chirp gently and stroke each other’s heads and genitals, according to previous research done at the park by Mahidol University in Thailand and Emory University in the United States.
In the video, these actions can be noticed.
Given that elephant trunks are so sensitive, psychologist and elephant behavior specialist Preston Foerder of the University of Tennessee believes elephants communicate through touch as well as voice and sight. Later in the footage, the two can be seen walking and eating together peacefully.