Sir Richard Armstrong (right) standing next to Dr Aon and one of the elephants she has treated
Sir Richard Armstrong recently made a trip to Thailand to visit the now completed STEF Veterinary Centre at Khok Kloi. Here he gives us an account of his visit.
“Since my last visit in early 2020 – just before the Covid 19 outbreak stopped all overseas travel – progress at the site has been remarkable. The elephant barn (in which surgery and other procedures can be performed) has been completed, extra solar panels have been added to the office/laboratory building, a medical store and two accommodation blocks have been built, major road repairs carried out, a vehicle dip and a weighbridge constructed, a recovery paddock created and equipment and medical supplies purchased. The buildings sit most attractively at the high point of the land and are very elegantly placed. The surroundings are beautiful. This whole project has been driven by the vision of Jakrapob Thaotad (Jake) and marks a proud moment for him and for all the STEF Trustees.
The mobile clinic has already been functioning for 18 months, run by Dr Aon, our superb vet, and I have been fortunate to be able to accompany her on her visits over a couple of days. To experience all this amidst the local culture of the beautiful Phang Nga province has been a most educative experience for me. Dr Aon has wasted no time in tending already over 160 sick elephants in the region.
It is absolutely clear that the hospital and the mobile clinic will now ensure a much better future for the welfare of the elephants of Southern Thailand.
For us as a charity, we now need a period of stabilisation to ensure that everything continues to function well, also to build up some financial reserves to guarantee that things keep going. All of our veterinary services are provided free of charge to give much-needed support to the rural communities and help for their elephants.”
(For information about Sir Richard’s career as a musical director see Wikipedia)
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