Maitree – the leader of the mahout in KECV.
Maitree is one of the most respected elephant keepers in KECV. He has been an elephant keeper for 22 years. He is not only the leader of mahout, but also being the master of all the elephants in KECV. Maitree spends most of his life taking care and love the elephant.
Maitree was born in Thailand. He was influenced by his friend and started to get involved in this career path in his early life, which during his age of 16. “ I was being attacked and kicked by the elephant, when I trained my very first elephant and it’s hurt so much. ” said by Maitree.
This career is considered as dangerous. “It is not only dangerous, but also the safety responsibility between human and the elephant,” said by Maitree. Not all the mahouts were having bad experience with the elephant. They wouldn’t know how dangerous it can be, if the elephant is being mad and uncontrollable. “Elephant can kill a person within 30 seconds, when that happened, we cannot do much but kill the elephant. Many mahouts have seen the good side of the elephant, but had never experienced the unexpected bad side of it,” said by Maitree.
Maitree was one of the witnesses that saw someone killed by the elephant back in his village in Thailand. Maitree is aware of how bad the situation can be happened if the elephant is uncontrollable, therefore the responsibility of him as a captain, is to make sure the elephants are safety enough to present to visitor. “The elephants that presented in educational presentation at KECV are all well-disciplined, therefore we are confident to bring them to our visitors. We will not bring those elephants that are not ready for our visitors.” said by Maitree.
Maitree was used to working as an elephant keeper at one of the zoo in Malaysia back in year 2000. Taking care of an elephant is 24/7 jobs and it is not an easy task. Back in the day, Maitree had the experience of taking care and stay overnight in the truck with his elephant. Maitree claimed that, being an elephant keeper, they need to be physically strong, as it is required high activity and must have positive attitude, as well as giving lots of love and patient to the elephant. Besides, elephant keeper has to work on public holiday too, and it is a 24-hours job.
Maitree persists in taking care and loving those homeless and injured elephants for the rest of his life. He treated the elephant like his own child and the elephant treated him with respect as well. The good relationship between mahout and elephant has made KECV a place that full of love, joy and harmony.
“I will spend the rest of my life to keep supporting and loving the elephant that in need. This is what I have promised,’’ — Maitree