Thailand sets up nursing home for elderly elephants


Bangkok : Thailand has set up its first nursing home for elderly elephants in Lampang province, already the home of two elephant hospitals, media reports said Tuesday.

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The Pang-La Nursing Home for Aged Elephants will be officially opened Nov 21, in Ngao district of Lampang, 490 km north of Bangkok, the Bangkok Post reported.

Situated on a 153-hectare plot with its own small river for elephant bathing, the shelter will be operated by the Forest Industry Organization (FIO), which also runs the Elephant Hospital in the province.

Lampang has another pachyderm hospital operated by the Friends of Asian Elephants Society, a private charity.

“We already have about 30 old and disabled elephants at the shelter,” FIO chief Manoonsak Tantiwat said. The nursing home will be able to handle up to 200 pachyderms when operating at full capacity, he added.

The nursing home will take care of the elephants “until their last breath”, Manoonsak said.

Thailand has more than 2,000 domesticated elephants, which were previously used as beasts of burden in the country’s forestry industry but are now jobless, as a result of government bans on logging.

In recent years, elephant owners have shifted to the tourism sector and begging in Bangkok to earn money off the massive mammals, that were once the national symbol gracing the flag when Thailand was still called Siam.