I do not have the words….

“You never know how strong you really are, until being strong is the only choice you have”…

I am at a total loss for words right now.

I can not believe this.

I am confused, upset and angry – very, very, angry.

On the 1st December 2015, BLES welcomed four beautiful bulls in to our family. The bulls, Mr Moo, Sompord, Ngor and Nwon, were all local boys who’s owners could not afford to keep them anymore. The owners wanted their bulls retired and wanted them to live out the rest of their lives, enjoying freedom with us here at BLES – https://blesele.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/the-bulls-of-baan-tuek/

At least, this is what we were told.

There really is no easy way of sharing this news, so I am just going to be honest and announce that Nwon is no longer with us. Despite us working hard to maintain good and open relations, Nwon’s owners deceitfully and selfishly went behind our backs and sold him.

The owner did not even have the decency to tell the mahout that had cared for Nwon for the past eight years and we are stunned by her lack of respect and ability to cheat.

Those of you who know me, will know that I always try to see the best in people and try to see the good in every lesson, no matter how awful and trying it may be. This time, however, I am so mad. I can not believe that to this woman, Nwon meant nothing more than a lump sum of money.

The past ten months have been incredible. Each of the bulls have added so much diversity and strength to our rescued elephant family. It has taken them all different lengths of time to adjust and relax around our females and it has brought us all so much joy to watch them rediscover themselves. Nwon, was slow to integrate. He was eventually taken in by Pang Suai and Pang Noi and these last few months have been beyond joyful, watching the three of them freely and naturally interact with each other and bond.


Of course, I am proud of all our elephants, but Nwon was so captivating and impressive. He had this intimidating air around him that had me infatuated. In just a few months, he had let go of his infamous aggressive nature and life of shackles. With the help of his faithful mahout, Phi Nit and his new found friends, Pang Suai and Pang Noi,  Nwon was emerging as a calm, strong and confident bull.

We loved Nwon – No. We love love Nwon and are genuinely heartbroken by this rude and totally unexpected departure. We have the contact information of his new owners and we have every intention of keeping in touch with them.

I am very aware that I am now going to have to deal with all your frustration and all I can do is accept the inevitable criticism and questions. Trusting people and believing they want the best for their animals might seem like a crazy notion to many of you, but this is how I have always managed BLES and despite this disappointing development, I will continue to conduct every future rescue, respectfully and with faith that we can all be trusted to be honest and open with each other. I refuse to change my principles, based on the behaviour of one hollow hearted human.

Since this sudden turn of events, we have spoken to the owners of the other three bulls, who assure us they have no intention of removing their bulls from BLES. I feel confident in their commitment to our partnership and feel positive about the future for them all.

We are planning on visiting Nwon as soon as we can and I will share an update, even though it will be upsetting…

I am so sorry for all of you. I am so sorry for Pang Suai and Pang Noi. I am so sorry for the BLES family and in particular, Phi Nit, who has now lost his job. Most of all, I am sorry Nwon. I wish there was a way to let you know how much we adored you and how devastated we are at all of this. If your owner had been honest with us, we could have saved you…. I will never turn my back on you and I have hope that you will come back to us again one day… Be strong beautiful boy – BE STRONG xx







  1. Rebecca lane-nohl · October 1, 2016

    Too hard to read…I’ve been left with an empty heart ♥ my eyes are full of tears..and Bless has been left with a huge empty space….Nwon won the trust of humans only to be tossed back into the unknown….probably sent back to work 😞 time to change the laws on ownership….no one should even be allowed to own these beautiful animals…I’m so sorry Nwon…stay strong xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Gale · October 1, 2016

    What has he gone to do? Can we all contribute for you to buy him back?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kevin · October 1, 2016

    I would be interested in contributing to buy Nwon back so that he can be secure at BLES.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Nicole · October 1, 2016

    Can we buy him back?


  5. patty t. · October 1, 2016

    Perhaps sending the “owner” a huge bill of the cost of Nwon’s “rehab”- from a lawyer would help?


  6. Cher Callaway · October 1, 2016

    OMG! Katherine this is truly heartbreaking.
    First, do you have a lawyer, you shoukd fight this. You need written contracts on your Elephants.
    Second, I would be honored to help you start a GFM page to buy Nwon back!
    I’m so very sorry😭


  7. Heather Brazell · October 1, 2016

    This makes me so sad. Not only for Nwon and the life he should be living but for everyone at Bles. Keep doing the amazing things you do every day. I’m hoping he will return some day. If it’s possible to set up a rescue fund I would also be interested in donating. Sending lots of love and positive vibes!!


  8. C. Jenkins · October 1, 2016

    I am very sorry for you. You put the love & tenderness into caring for an animal and to have someone not be upfront about changing their mind is spineless and weak. You should tell us all the former owner’s mailing address and let us write to her. The mahout must be especially heartbroken. To see an animal regain it’s happiness and freedom to have it stolen from them and the person that has been their mahout for 8 years must make that elephant feel betrayed and wondering what they did wrong. Keep up the good work. Keep up the fight for these elephants.


  9. Di OBrien · October 1, 2016

    Can we raise the money and buy him back? Our hearts break together for Nwon.


  10. lornabramley · October 1, 2016

    I am so sad to read this. It is always hard when our trust in people is abused. Particularly hard is when someone we love is the one who pays the price of betrayal, and that someone is Nwon. We mourn the loss too, with you and his Mahmout, and we hope for a way to bring Nwon and Phi Nit back together again. There will be a way, there always is, and I pray that the Way will become clear.


  11. David Rodrigues · October 1, 2016

    I will contribute to buy Nwon back. This is just terrible!


  12. Nancy Bosch · October 1, 2016

    Is there any way from now on you have a contract that when an elephant is placed with you that the previous owners release ownership and lose all rights to sell or manipulate their lives ever again?


  13. Barbara Sadler · October 1, 2016

    Is it just greed? Let’s buy him back!!! I’m with you…I am so angry and sad. Can’t see to write through my tears.😢
    Poor ele…back to abuse, hooks, starvation, and hard labor. My heart is breaking.💔


  14. katherine keon · October 1, 2016

    Everyone has a price. Why not start a campaign to buy him back. If she is a bad person, she will sell him. Its all about money and if you want money, money will come. Put your supporters to work. You just need to tell us the number.


  15. Kali Dragonslayer · October 1, 2016

    so heartbreaking to read this news, what an awful woman to remove this bull from such a peaceful retirement. At the very least she should of offered him to BLES for the same price as she sold him into ( I am so angry to think he will be returned to a trekking camp or worse) Hugs to you Katherine and everyone at Boon Lott’s, Nwon will return home with the support of all who love you and support your cause.


  16. Erika Simmons · October 1, 2016

    There is no room for criticisms of BLES here. If you had been informed the owner was interested in selling you would have bought him no matter what it took. I liked the other reply indicating you made Nwon into a new happy non aggressive elephant and now he was sellable. The owner was probably jealous of the work you do and our continued success so would not consider selling him to you. Maybe the new owners may sell him back to you at an inflated price. We can only hope. You did nothing wrong Katherine and this was not something you had any control over. I’m sorry. Maybe we can raise 1 months wages for Nwon’s mahout. Xo


  17. Nika · October 2, 2016

    This is devestating in so many ways. I agree with people in asking if he can be purchased “back,” but understand that it sets a difficult & tricky precedent. Hearts and prayers to all.


  18. Ellen · October 2, 2016

    I am so sorry. How devastating. I have always had a desire to work with elephants and I have a ominous passion for these beauties.
    How cruel for this to have happened.
    GOD be with you and the elephants. People like u are a blessing❤️🐘


  19. Lemonpath · October 2, 2016

    Is there anyway you can buy the elephant back, maybe start a fundraising campaign


  20. Vy · October 2, 2016

    I’d contribute what I can to buy/get him back. Poor thing to be ripped away from home.


  21. Page Gorman · October 2, 2016

    I will help to buy him back too! Where there is a will there is a way.


  22. Jennifer Ahlstrom · October 3, 2016

    I will contribute so you can buy the elephant back😢


  23. Janet Locke · October 4, 2016

    This is one of the most heartbreaking stories I have ever read. My heart goes out to you, and i will pray that you can come up with the solution to get Nwon back where is belongs.


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