Over a ton of grass donated to Krabi Elephant Hospital
Over the years we have made several donations within our Elephant Conservation Project at this only government-run elephant hospital in Southern Thailand. Our recent donation consisted of saline solution and medicine, to aid with the treatment of 11 elephants admitted in the hospital. For this donation our team made an extra round of cutting at our grass plantation in the morning and filled our truck with over a ton of fresh Napier grass. We headed to the hospital in Khlong Thom district in Krabi, about three hours’ drive from our tented camp.
Self-sufficiency in elephant food production
At Elephant Hills we grow all the grass we feed to our elephants by ourselves on our own land. By doing this we can ensure that the Napier grass, also known as elephant grass is grown with best practices in uncontaminated soil, without pesticides and herbicides and is cut at an optimal stage with high nutritional value. Being self-sufficient in elephant food production means we must ensure that we have enough grass throughout the year to feed our 11 beloved pachyderms, also during the driest periods when the growth slows down from November until May.
During the rainy season, or “green season” as we like to call it, nature here in Khao Sok National Park and surrounding areas truly thrives, and our grasslands at the elephant camp are no exception. During this time, on some of the cycles of growing the grass we get oversupply and are always looking to ways we can help other domestic Thai elephants. Hence, we stay in close contact with the Krabi Elephant Hospital and recently received an urgent call for help concerning their diminishing elephant food situation.
Delivering grass to Krabi Elephant Hospital
Upon arriving at the hospital, we spoke with the veterinarian Dr. Bow and found out that the food situation at the hospital is currently quite difficult. Sourcing of good quality food is challenging and if the hospital is not able to find Napier grass to buy, they must rely on pineapple leaves, which are of lower nutritional value and if not washed properly, can contain pesticides often used at pineapple plantations. Sometimes the elephants get brought coconut palm leaves by their owners, but although elephants can eat them, their dense and strong fibers pose a risk of constipation especially with elephants already struggling with digestion issues.
Dr. Bow explained that the elephants currently admitted suffer from severe nail issues, asthenia, digestive problems, diarrhea, eye irritation and EEHV (Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus). Needless to say, the elephant vets and the mahouts at the hospital were very pleased to receive our grass delivery. Currently the Krabi Elephant Hospital needs to feed 11 elephants on a daily basis. Normally they are able to source only 400kg of grass per month, which is their preferred source of nutrition for the elephants. After unloading the truck, the mahouts grabbed their carts, filled them with grass and immediately took them to feed the elephants under their care.
We are grateful for all the medical advice and support we have received from Krabi Elephant Hospital over the years and will definitely keep giving back to the best of our ability. As for their elephant food supply, we will keep monitoring the situation of our grass plantations and are ready for another delivery if the next growth cycle proves as successful as this one.
Within our Elephant Conservation Project we try to help improving the welfare of domestic elephants by supporting government run elephant hospitals. We also contribute to wild elephant conservation by helping the Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks to prevent human-elephant conflicts. We are currently looking for companies to co-operate with our project through corporate sponsorship. Please contact us at [email protected] if your company would be interested in aiding the elephants in Thailand.
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