Our Chairman, Andrew Higgins, has just returned from a visit to Ban Ton Sae where he met fellow trustee, and Chair of STEF Thailand, Jake Thaotad. Jake gave Andrew a thorough update on the development program, the construction works and there were many discussions on future plans, but of course the pace will always depend on funding. Clearly, the Elephant Veterinary Clinic is a priority and during his stay in Thailand, Andrew also arranged meetings with the former Head of Krabi Elephant Hospital, Dr Khajohnpat Boonprasert, an experienced elephant clinician, now based in Chiang Mai, to discuss design and operational issues.

Most of the tracks and drains have now been completed (left) and the next stage is to lay the foundations for the main clinic, and this work is scheduled to start in the next few weeks. Pillars will also be embedded ready to take the roof, and the office and lab will be built adjacent to the main foundations. The flooring is most important and must be reinforced to take the weight of one or more elephants. The project manager will also want to plan carefully for the off-loading and re-loading of elephants onto trucks via a carefully designed recess (right) known as a ha-ha (the origin may come from Old English meaning hedge but some say it reflects the surprise when used in a garden as a landscape feature (‘Ah ah’ or ‘Ha ha!), who knows?

Dr Higgins commented “We are most grateful to the generous trusts and individuals who have supported us so far and with your help we can continue with this vital work to assist the domesticated elephants in the Southern region with health and welfare needs.”

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