Tracking Thailand’s Giants

elephant vet

Dr Aon holds up an information board for the one year old baby elephant she has been examining

STEF’s veterinary office, Dr Aon, has now visited and examined over 50 elephants in the Phang Nga and Phuket Provinces of Southern Thailand. Travelling in the mobile clinic, over the last three months she has treated serious illnesses (see previous news), dealt with cheeky youngsters and provided local elephant owners and mahouts with medical supplies, advice and support.

As well as providing elephant health care, one of the most important things Dr Aon has been doing on her visits is tracking all the elephants she sees and recording them on a database called Species360 – the Zoological Information Management System. It is a system used by over 1,200 zoos, aquariums, conservation organisations and universities around the world (see Species360). As well as basic records, such as an elephant’s name, sex, age, photograph and the owner’s name, the database also allows users to store medical records such as clinical notes, procedures, treatments, blood test and biopsy results so that cases can be easily and effectively followed up. It has also helped Dr Aon initiate a survey of elephants in the local area to estimate the population size.  Generous sponsorship from the exotic feed company, Mazuri, has enabled us to pay for membership to Species360, and we are grateful for their help.

All of this data will help to inform us of the ongoing needs of elephants in Southern Thailand as we continue to roll out medical care in the region. Our Veterinary Centre at Khok Kloi recently took delivery of a blood analyser machine (IDEXX), an essential item for diagnosing an elephant’s illness. As an elephant charity, we continue to raise funds for further essential equipment (see our appeals), and for the cost of medical supplies (see Medicine Angels).

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