ee Pael, one of Cambodia’s few captive female elephants, lived a peaceful life in a forest sanctuary until the day a wild bull appeared, chased away her handler and ran off with Gee Pael.
“I had to run up a tree,” recalled Yel Yan, the elephant’s mahout, or caretaker. “I was angry with Gee Pael, she made me stressed because I didn’t know where she was or what she wanted.”
Gee Pael and the bull spent two weeks in 2020 foraging in local farms and snacking on bananas, cashews and sugarcane. The Bonnie and Clyde of the elephant world eventually parted ways and Gee Pael returned to the Elephant Valley Project (EVP), a conservation centre in northeast Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province.