Our main aim for the last year has been to fully equip our recently constructed elephant veterinary centre and take in our first patients. The site of the veterinary centre is on land in the jungle near Khok Kloi, north of Phuket, and the hospital, together with its mobile clinic, will serve the local elephant communities in Phang Nga and Phuket Provinces.
The mobile clinic has now been running for two years, and the hospital, the first NGO elephant hospital in Southern Thailand, was completed in June. Since then, patients have been arriving regularly for treatment (see: first patients). We now need to secure funds, through donations and grants, to cover the running costs of the hospital. The help with these costs, we have recently started a veterinary volunteer programme at the hospital (see: volunteers). More information about the development of the STEF Veterinary Centre can be found on our timeline. Our next plan is to establish an educational centre on the site at Khok Kloi to further the cause of elephant welfare in Thailand.
1Stage 1 Our current key strategic focus has been to raise funds to help our sister charity (Southern Thailand Elephant Foundation Thailand, STEFT) to construct a much-needed elephant Elephant Veterinary Centre with specialised veterinary services available to the wider elephant community in Phang Nga and Phuket Provinces. The STEF Veterinary Centre Khok Kloi has now been completed, but we still need to raise funds for the running costs of the centre.
2Stage 2 will include construction of an Education Centre to explain the importance of the elephant and its place in Thai culture, and the basic philosophy of elephant conservation. The aim is to provide a natural rural centre where visitors can learn about the Asian elephant in its natural environment, and appreciate its vital role in Thai culture. Guests will be encouraged to see these magnificent animals without any fear of their abuse or exploitation.
3Stage 3 will be to create a home for retired or neglected elephants on land in the jungle near Ban Ton Sae, about 12 km from Phuket. The site is ideal for development as a facility where elephants can relax and enjoy a peaceful and stress-free retirement. There is plenty of grazing, with scope for environmentally enriched activities, and where the retired elephants can be viewed by schoolchildren and other visitors.
4Stage 4 In time, STEF also wishes to support elephant conservation, and to promote veterinary health studies, student projects and other programmes that are designed clearly to benefit the health, welfare and future of the Asian elephant.