In early August our vet, Mor Pap, joined several other elephant specialists at a conference in Pattaya, on the agenda were speeches and presentations by several of the vets responsible for Thailand's elephant population.
Areas covered included:
- An industrial standard to be required of all operating elephant camps in Thailand and what should be included.
- Wild elephant behaviour
- The problem of street elephants
- Elephant confiscation and identification
- An Elephant Camp vet's responsibility
- Elephant welfare and treatment
- Security and protection from the elephant you are treating
- Sample collection from elephants
I am unsure what was directly achieved in the meeting, there were no direct results though the 'standard' is something we'll watch with interest to see how it develops, according to Pap we are currently well ahead of the proposals (which we'd like to hope we were). It will be interesting to see how implementable and how tough such a standard is - the idea would be to close down those camps not meeting the standards, even if this is not possible it would at least give travel agents and tourists an idea of those leaning towards best practice.
Most importantly though, more important than the agenda - and the reason we support - all the vets from all across the country got together, as they do well, and discussed the problems and approaches.
If we are to do anything to help Thailand's elephants it will be through unified approaches such as this.