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Thailand’s Florence Nightingale that takes care of sick elephants

The 11-year-old elephant called Boon Mee was injured by a landmine at the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital in the Mae Yao National Reserve, Lampang, Thailand.

There is a woman who has the kind of heart like Florence Nightingale, known for her night rounds to aid the wounded. But this nurse doing the same work as the ‘Lady with the Lamp,’ in Thailand, takes care of wounded elephants.

Soraida Salwala opened the World’s First Asian Elephant Hospital in Lampang, Thailand in 1993 to treat elephants that are ill or injured as a result of work, abuse, or neglect. 

To date, she and her staff have treated over 3,000 elephants for everything from eye infections to knife wounds, gunshot wounds, broken bones, drug addictions, and building prosthetic limbs for the survivors of landmine accidents.

When Soraida Salwala was a young girl, she and her father happened upon an elephant that had been hit by a car. She wanted to take “Uncle Elephant” to the hospital; when her father informed her that there was no hospital for elephants, she was heartbroken. 

In 1993, Soraida realized a lifelong dream to create a hospital for elephants. The Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital in Lampang, Thailand, is the first of its kind in the world.

Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital assists in medical care and helps to promote a better understanding of the elephant’s physiology, important in treating them for illness. 

For generations, elephants have been a part of the Thai culture, although today the Thai elephant mostly is a domesticated animal, since Thailand now has few working elephants.

Many are used in the tourism sector at special elephant parks or zoos, where they perform in shows. In some cases Thailand is still dealing with roaming elephants on the city streets, usually, after the mahout, an elephant driver, becomes unemployed, which often causes the elephant serious stress.

Animals are living beings thus, suffer the same trauma and depression-like human beings. Every year hundreds of elephants are killed for the ivory trade. According to a study published by global experts, the number of elephants across Africa has dropped by 111,000 in just 10 years to only 415,000 today.

At the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) elephant hospital in the Mae Yao National Reserve, Veterinarian students from Chiang Mai University dedicate their time to attending the elephants with various types of injuries. Each of our staff brings a wealth of knowledge, skill and precision, and a heart full of compassion for the elephants. 

The elephant Hospital would not be a success without the dedication and support from its 14 employees. Your donation is could save the lives of hundreds of elephants.

Published by Secretsofaidsebolafacts

We are three united medical writers from different backgrounds. Dutch Micro-surgeon/scientist & author Johan Van Dongen / Journalist & author Joel Savage, from Belgium and a German medical doctor & author Dr. Wolff Geisler.

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