To help ensure Baby Kit’s successful introduction into the wild, while at the same time allowing him to live the most natural life possible in captivity, we must listen carefully to his and his family’s instinctual behaviors. While the timing can vary greatly, baby bull elephants often begin separating themselves from their mother and matriarchal herd around three years of age – when they finish nursing. This separation does not happen overnight but takes years to unfold. Unlike others who have elephants in captivity we will not force any separation, but rather let it happen as naturally as possible.
As Kit continues to grow we have seen signs from him, his mother and the other females in the herd that the time is coming for him to start spending a bit more time on his own. This can often be a challenge in captivity with limited resources and amounts of space and is why many people will simply remove the baby from its family entirely at this stage. Since this is not the approach we will use – and we have ample land for the elephants to roam – we will implement a different strategy.
Instead of encouraging Kit to walk with his mother and family every morning we will give him the option of spending this time away from the herd and offer him extended time to explore the jungle. He will be able to choose to either stay with his mother or to venture out on his own. During this period, we will begin testing out various radio collars and GPS units that will track his location in preparation for his move into the wild. We are currently working on a plan to allow guests to see him at a distance, but in a manner that will not negatively impact his natural behaviors.
As with all parents it comes with a mixture of sadness and happiness when you watch your children take the next step in life. It’s no different than with Kit. It may sound trite, but it seems like just yesterday he was our little boy. We invite everyone to wish Kit the best and picture him roaming the jungle and living his life as the wild elephant he was born to be. As hard as it is to see these changes begin, we know it is what’s best for Kit – and even more what’s best for the preservation of elephants in Laos.
In light of this, Baby Kit and his mother will not participate in the New Beginnings tour as of Wednesday, February 27th, 2019. We understand this may seem like sad news for many people who have been expecting to see him but hope everyone can appreciate the need for this change. The New Beginnings tour will continue to run with the matriarch of our herd, Mae Mahn, and her recently rescued and reunited daughter, Moen. Group size will still be an intimate four-person experience. We are happy to offer a full refund to anyone who has already booked this tour and would like to cancel due to the circumstances. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.