Dr Merry Smith takes on the role of Chair at STEF as Dr Andrew Higgins steps down.

Here in the UK, the Southern Thailand Elephant Foundation is managed by a board of Trustees. They are experts in their fields and give their time, knowledge and experience to the charity in order to fundraise for, promote and support the work of the STEF veterinary hospital in Thailand. Here, Asian elephants can receive free veterinary care for any illnesses and injuries they may have, and elephant owners can access support in maintaining a high standard of care and welfare for their elephants.

Dr Andrew Higgins

Dr Andrew Higgins: Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2017 to 2024

The outgoing Chair of the board, Dr Andrew Higgins, has been at the forefront of STEF UKs mission since its inception in 2017. A highly accomplished Veterinarian, Dr Higgins has supported the development of the veterinary hospital in Khok Kloi, witnessing such milestones as the construction of the main building, recruitment of expert elephant veterinarians, purchasing of the mobile clinic, the inception of a re-planting initiative, the veterinary volunteer programme, and many traditional blessing ceremonies. After years of such dedication to the charity, Dr Higgins  stepped down from his role in March 2024 to allow another passionate elephant advocate the opportunity to drive STEFs mission forward.

Luckily for the charity, Dr Higgins will remain very much involved, continuing as a Trustee in the role of Senior Vice Chair.  He is looking forward to seeing STEFs progression in the coming years.

Read more about Dr Andrew Higgins here

Taking on the mantle as Chair of the STEF UK Board of Trustees is Merry Smith, another well respected Veterinarian and animal welfare champion. Of her recent appointment, Merry says “it’s a real privilege to be involved with STEF, and to be joining the board of Trustees after so much of the essential foundation work has been done! I’m very much looking forward to meeting the team over in Thailand, and to understanding first hand, the challenges they face when treating sick elephants. Andrew’s shoes are big ones to fill, but I’ll do my best to facilitate the continued growth of this lovely charity.  To dedicate time to contribute to the support and preservation of these beautiful elephants in the habitat where they belong feels like an extremely worthwhile mission.”

Read more about Merry here 

Dr Merry Smith

Dr Merry Smith: Chair of the Board of Trustees from March 2024.