Lampang hospital was founded in 2000 to provide care mainly for the domestic elephants in the Northern Thailand. In addition to the hospital premises located in the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, it also operates a mobile clinic. Elephant Hills Elephant Conservation Project supports this, and other two government run elephant hospitals regularly. During our most recent visit, we donated medical supplies, fruits and vegetables.
It is estimated that 95% of Thailand’s domestic elephants are privately owned. Especially in the mountainous northern provinces, many elephant owners are part of the Karen hill tribe. The mahouts (elephant care takers) at Elephant Hills are also Karen, and originally from Mae Hong Son province. Karen people are well known for their knowledge and expertise in handling these amazing animals.
The elephant hospital provides free treatment for all elephants, regardless of the wealth of the owner. Free treatment is essential especially for many hill tribes living in the mountains, often surviving with low income. Due to long distances and challenging roads, the mobile clinic is literally a lifesaver in more demanding cases. The medical supplies must be constantly restocked, as they are also handed out to mahouts to continue basic treatment independently.
Caring for a demanding case
In addition to the most commonly used medical supplies, we also donated around three hundred kilos of fruits and vegetables. These were requested specifically to aid one of the elephants being admitted. The female elephant in question had been admitted for several months due to jaw and teeth problems. She couldn’t open her mouth properly, so all nutrition needed to be blended into smoothies. Not only was this costly due to specifically selected fruits and vegetables, but also time-consuming and laborious.
In normal conditions, an elephant can consume up to 250 kg of vegetation per day. The hard-working staff at the hospital had carefully planned a nutritious diet to sustain the large animal and help with its recovery. The blenders containing fruits, vegetables, water and coconut milk were constantly running. After blending, the mahouts climbed up to a platform where they would feed the elephant by pouring the mixture into a hose, with another end in the elephant’s mouth.
Witnessing the dedication and hard work of the vets and other hospital staff, we were once again re-assured that we are directing our support to a correct cause. In the very capable hands of Lampang hospital veterinarians, many elephants can recover from serious illnesses and injuries. Indeed, like in this case, the team’s tireless efforts can often save lives.
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