“The Maetaeng Elephant Park began as a result of the 1989 ban on Logging in Thailand. We witnessed increasing numbers of elephants being forced to roam the city streets and take up work in the Illegal logging trade. With no previous history of working with elephants, we decided to create a safe and friendly environment for the elephants and support the park through our visitors, who can experience the elephants close-up, becoming better informed about the present situation and long term future of Asian elephants. Since 1996, we have dedicated ourselves to protecting the elephants and sustaining the culture of the mahouts and their families.”
– the Chailert Family
In 2000, we decided it would be a great idea to use the money raised from selling elephant artwork to fund the purchase of medical supplies needed at the park. Back then, Maetaeng Elephant Park did not have a clinic on site; a sick or injured elephant would have to be loaded onto a truck and driven the three-hour journey to the government sponsored Elephant Hospital in Lampang. The alternative was for the Lampang veterinarians to make the long journey to the park itself. Either way, delays were stressful and sometimes dangerous for the sick elephant. The visiting veterinarians share their knowledge with our park’s mahouts so the mahouts can treat and properly take care of their own elephants. Still, we needed to do more.
In 2006, we created a fledgling clinic. Initially, it was to attend to the pregnant elephants in the herd so they could have a monitored and protected area within the park. Soon after, it was equipped to take care of minor medical issues, as well.
In 2009, we took a big step forward, realizing that a fully-equipped, licensed clinic needed to be created, one with a full-time veterinary staff as well as experienced Mahouts, with their ancient knowledge of natural, medicinal herbs and of elephant behavior. With help from various charity groups, volunteers and several local businesses we were able to create a proper clinic-infrastructure. Today we have a fully operational FREE clinic. Except for the government-sponsored Elephant Hospital at Lampang, the Maetaeng Elephant park and Clinic is the only elephant clinic in this part of Thailand.
Our FREE elephant clinic has been pivotal in the care and welfare of all the elephants in this area. They no longer have to make that arduous and stressful journey to Lampang. Still though, we work closely with the veterinary team from Lampang Elephant Hospital along with veterinary students from local universities. We are constantly changing and discovering different ways to enhance the care, welfare and long-term sustainability of the Asian Elephant in Thailand.
We are grateful for the support we have received both locally and internationally. Since we began in 1996, we’ve witnessed a great deal of progress. We’re proud of our committed staff and honored to be a part of this remarkable journey. In this ever-changing world, we are determined to continue to create the best possible future for the elephants.