The dramatic moment that rescuers were fighting to save a starving elephant found ‘days from death’ after being neglected at a closed tourist camp in Thailand due to the co.ro.na.virus.
A 50 years old elephant called Khun Pan worked at Chang Siam Park in Chonburi, eastern Thailand, transporting visitors until the Co.vid-19 pandemic hit the industry. And the vacationers are forbidden to visit.
Sadly, the elephant was starved – so thin that bones protruded from the skin.
Khun Pan was found covered with sores from where he lay on the hard and dusty ground, while his long tusks began to weaken and crack.
Shocked locals alert the veterinarians after they see the jumbo guy’s grief over the weekend.
Medical scientists from a nearby animal hospital in Pattaya arrived at Chang Siam Park on Saturday. They found the elephant was too weak to stand on its own as it was only days away from dying.
They had to lift the elephant with a leather strap tied to a nearby tree for support and help it stand. Doctors also drip IV drips with a saline solution to rehydrate the jumbo.
Khun Pan’s owner, Lee Petchkla, 55, has blamed the elephant’s condition for the lack of tourists.
He said that after vacationers were banned last March due to the Co.vid-19 pandemic, he struggled to feed Khun Pan.
A second outbreak of co.ro.na.virus cases in December and the resulting lockout meant he could not afford pineapple or other sources of nutrients to feed the emaciated jumbo.
“I have 37 elephants at the camp, and they are all in trouble,” Lee said. However, Khun Pan is the weakest elephant because of old age.
‘The pandemic meant there were no tourists, and I had no income to feed them. I don’t know what else to do.”
Lee, who also runs shows featuring monkeys in splendid bicycles, said camp elephants once generated income from controversial shows – performing tricks for travelers and giving a ride.
He added: ‘I will try my best to take care of them either. I hope they can get the proper care from a specialist. If there are no more tourists, I will bring them back to my village. ”
The veterinarians and kind locals who visited the park on Saturday fed the starving elephant some much-needed bananas and sugarcane.
He got a little better the next day after the vets continued to take care of the sores and cuts on his frail body.
Despite the elephant’s health concerns, Khun Pan is still allowed to stay in the park – and remains there today.
In response to the images of elephants, the Animal Rights group, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said: ‘Elephant camps have benefited from elephant suffering for decades. Elephants should be locked up in reputable protected areas such as BLES immediately before they die of abandonment and starvation.
‘These shabby elephants are living a miserable life in Thailand’s’ entertainment’ industry. The CO.VID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for any facility to exploit elephants and other animals for reflection on what the future holds.
‘There is growing recognition that riding elephants, forcing elephants to perform other’ tricks’ and keeping them locked up for a profit is morally undeniable.
‘PETA urges all who are genuinely interested in elephants never to support any facility that exploits these majestic animals. Instead, donate to the campaigns that truly protect elephants in their native habitat.’
Dozens of animal protection groups around the world have condemned the use of elephants as tourist attractions. They have campaigned to end elephants’ use at tourist sites and urged tour operators to stop selling tickets for such shows.
Jason Baker, PETA vice president for international campaigns, says elephants only perform because of the threat of violence.
He said: ‘These elephants are not performing, so it is enjoyable. That is because they are fearful of the abuse they will get otherwise.”
An estimated 2,000 elephants live in the wild in Thailand and a similar number in captivity. They live in sanctuaries, zoos or do private rental work at weddings and festivals.
The travel restrictions caused by the Co.vid-19 pandemic mean that the elephants in Thailand’s tourism industry suffer, with many protected areas and farms using them struggling to cover farming costs.