Getting Ready For Our First Patients

STEF Trustee Jakrapob Thaotad, who is overseeing the construction of the elephant veterinary centre at Ban Ton Sae

Since the visits to the Ban Ton Sae site by STEF President Sir Richard Armstrong and our Hon. Treasurer, Roger Clark, progress on the barn, where elephants will be treated at the veterinary centre (see Our Strategy), has been slow but sure. The concrete pillars are now complete and the scaffolding is going up for the construction of the roof.  Care has been taken to make sure the building can withstand heavy elephants (Thai elephants can weigh up to five and half tons), and there has also been considerable thought given to the design of the rails and stocks which will be needed from time to time to restrain elephants being treated.

Most domesticated elephants will stand happily at the command of their Kwan-Chaang, but even the most docile of these wonderful animals can panic in a strange environment or if they have undergone trauma through injury.  For the safety of the veterinary staff, and for the best possible treatment of sick or injured elephants, it is essential that these elephants can be restrained as humanely but effectively as possible.  Our man on the site, Trustee Jakrapob Thaotad, has been working closely with the team at the government elephant hospital in Krabi to design suitable rails and stocks, which are now ready to be fitted in the barn at Ban Ton Sae.

As you can see from the photos, the stocks and rails need to be very strong and tough in order to support a sick elephant that may weigh several tons and require careful medication.  Many elephants suffer from foot problems, and so a secure rail is needed for the elephant to lean against while her foot is lifted and held for treatment.  Similarly, if an elephant is weak and needs intravenous medication, she will often have to be supported so she does not fall to the floor, which in itself can be dangerous for a sick elephant and very difficult to manage.  We need to make sure our equipment is the best and is fit for purpose.  Slow but sure is often the best way of getting such specialist construction completed to the right standard, and we are determined to get it right.  Please consider donating today to support our work to improve the welfare of Thailand’s elephants: donate here