Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


A visit to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center's hospital is best done early because most treatment happens in the cool of the morning. Most patients are fit enough to walk at least short distances and so are kept in the forest, where they can feed naturally, and then walked to the hospital daily for care.

A visit to the hospital can be unsettling or even disturbing, with some gruesome injuries and very sad cases. The comfort lies in knowing that the suffering animals are getting world-class technical care from the hands of people who genuinely love elephants. This love is made clear by the fact that while many patients fight treatment when they arrive, most soon learn to accept even painful treatment with great patience.

The hospital, founded in 1993, presently employs a staff of five veterinarians supported by a team of well-trained 'mahout-nurses'. It usually cares for between ten and fifteen sick or injured elephants, nearly all of them being privately-owned elephants trucked in for free care. (The TECC's own elephants are so well cared for that they only rarely need treatment at the hospital.)

Cases ranges from feet mangled by landmines and wounds from logging accidents to tricky pregnancies and calves in poor health. Cases resulting from outright cruelty are extremely unusual, but victims of overwork or poor feeding are not uncommon. Cases of infectious diseases are quite rare, and usually found in young animals. An elephant's early years are a time of peril.

This hospital is fully equipped with everything from mechanical hoists to a 10-wheel drive, all-terrain truck that is surely the largest ambulance in the world. (A more detailed description of the hospital's activities is found at Hospital Work.).

Print Friendly and PDF