• February 24, 2024

The baby elephant in Ban Don

“The baby elephant in Ban Don. I don’t have tusks yet, so I’m still a child…”, this song is not only for children but also for the childhood of people all over the country… But when I met this elephant in the tourist area of Buon. Don felt tears of compassion.

“The baby elephant in Ban Don. I don’t have tusks yet, so I’m still a child…”, this song is not only for children but also for the childhood of people all over the country… But when I met this elephant in the tourist area of Buon. Don felt tears of compassion.

In the first Vietnamese legend, there is a mention of the Nine-tusked Elephant, which is the betrothal that King Hung required when Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh proposed to Mi Nuong. History books mentioning elephants and taming elephants is from the time of Hai Ba Trung against the Han and Mrs. Trieu, they used elephants in the battlefield to fight the Ngo army (the one-tusked white elephant). Elephants were used a lot by Vietnamese feudal dynasties in both military and civilian, domestic elephants and wild elephants account for a large proportion. By the time of Quang Trung, the elephant was one of the best warriors, helping the king to defeat Lord Trinh and defeat Lord Nguyen, and against foreign invaders Thanh and Siam.

At the end of the Nguyen Dynasty, Bao Dai dynasty, there were Western writers who recorded some observations about elephants of the Vietnamese people such as the Vietnamese dividing elephants into two types, big elephants called “bo penh”, small elephants called “boo”. . War elephants from previous dynasties, when they have made merit in battle, are attached a silver ring to the pair of tusks. The king’s elephant is well raised…

Those who have the opportunity to visit Buon Don Tourist Center (in Buon Tri A, Krong An commune, Buon Don district, Dak Lak province) will see a specimen of a small, ordinary elephant like many other baby elephants. But we were surprised to learn that this is the prototype of a famous children’s song composed by musician Pham Tuyen – the song “The baby elephant in Ban Don”.

The story of a lost baby elephant

The exhibition house of Buon Don tourist area is designed like a typical long house of the Ede people, where it displays a lot of tools as well as products of their nation, from rusted gongs. lightning to the pliers, the elephant hunting rope has faded, everything is very vivid and realistic. However, the most impressive thing for me when coming here is still the specimen of a baby elephant placed in the gallery.

This baby elephant is about 1m tall, still quite small, the skin is rough and hard, there are many hairs on the skin. His eyes were wide, his trunk was bent and his mouth was open as if he was calling for his mother. His four legs are spread out, strong, facing forward as if to chase after his mother to suckle. Maybe that’s why the guides here often jokingly call him “milk elephant”.

Ms. Hoa – tour guide introduced: This is the baby elephant that musician Pham Tuyen met, and from there was inspired to compose a famous children’s song later. The origin of this elephant is also strange, the stray wild elephant was brought back to be raised, not a domestic elephant born. People in the village found that elephant right at the edge of the forest, near the ancient graveyard of the current “Elephant Hunting King” Khun Junob.

The forest elephant looks young, according to its height, this elephant is only 6 months old. In this Buon Don, Ede ethnic people have the custom of hunting and taming wild elephants aged 2-4 years old. When hunting elephants, hunters use domestic elephants to chase and encircle wild elephants until they run out of ways, then tie their legs and chain their necks, and small elephants will not catch them. That’s why this elephant lost his way to the trade. So the company and Buon Don Tourist Center nurtured the baby elephant and herds of domestic elephants here (at this time, Buon Don has about 30 domestic elephants for farming and tourism).

Many tourists at that time who came to the center to visit and see the elephant were very interested in it, and when they heard the story of its lost mother, they all expressed sympathy. But after a while, the baby elephant fell ill and died. At that time, it was only 1 year and 2 months old. Hoa said, it seems that it can’t stand the new life in the village, people feed it with the milk of domestic elephants, but it is not used to it, still lacks nutrition, so it dies from exhaustion. Everyone loved that baby elephant as their own but could not save it.

Because the baby elephant’s situation is quite special, partly because the baby elephant is the prototype, the inspiration for the birth of the song “Baby elephant in Ban Don”, the company decided to embalm this baby elephant. and kept at the Exhibition and Presentation House of Buon Don Tourist Center.

Seeing me excited about the story of that special elephant, Mr. Pham Van Thao – Deputy Manager of Buon Don Tourism Center continued: When the elephant was healthy, everyone in the agency contributed to raising it. Such baby elephants often need the warmth of their mother. Mr. Thao said that on that day, there were two people who took care of him the most, Cha Ly and H’nuc. All the work from cleaning, bathing, to making milk and bottle feeding is done by the sisters. I asked to meet the sisters, but Mr. Thao said that now the sisters are no longer working at the Center, information about the “mothers” of this elephant is no longer kept by the company.

The company decided to spend a considerable amount of money to be able to embalm the body intact and put it on display in 2000, when the Exhibition and Presentation House had just been renovated.

Elephants are very cute animals, let’s join hands to protect them!

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