Thai elephant hospital, short of money, at risk of closing

2017-03-17 20:01
In this August 2009 file photo elephant keepers help fit an artificial leg for Motola at the Elephant Hospital. (Apichart Weerawong, AP File)

In this August 2009 file photo elephant keepers help fit an artificial leg for Motola at the Elephant Hospital. (Apichart Weerawong, AP File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bangkok - What is believed to be the world's first elephant hospital says it may have to close because of budgetary problems after a decade of declining contributions.

The Friends of the Asian Elephant foundation, which operates the hospital in Lampang in Thailand's hilly north, says it is facing bankruptcy unless it receives financial assistance from the Thai government. The hospital has cared for more than 4 600 elephants in 25 years of operation and currently has five animals.

The hospital drew worldwide attention in 2008 when it developed the world's first prosthetic elephant leg. At least 15 of its patients have been land mine victims.

Foundation head Soraida Salwala said on Friday that the group has barely enough money to continue operating until the end of the year, with a monthly average of $12 000 in donations falling far short of $28 000 in expenses.

She took some hope in a surge of contributions seen since she publicised the problem on Monday on the foundation's Facebook page.

She remains grim, however, about the hospital's long-term prospects.

"If we cannot find more people and resources, then yes, we would have to shut down," Soraida said. "What I want to see most is for the government to have an Elephant Fund, which I have sought for over 20 years."

Elephants are the de facto national animal of Thailand, and for a brief period graced the country's flag.

"I'm still working. I still love elephants. I'm asking for the government to please help us," Soraida said.

Read more on:    thailand  |  animals

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.