Archive for the ‘Notes from Soraida and FAE’ Category

Baby Elephant Update

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

In addition to building prosthetic limbs for elephants (like Mosha and Motala) that step on landmines, the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital also treats elephants for everything from illness to injuries.

Elephant Kamnoi pets Baby "Dante" at FAE.

Elephant Kamnoi pets Baby "Dante" at FAE.

On February 18, 2010 we announced that  Soraida Salwala, Founder of the FAE Elephant Hospital and featured in the elephant conservation documentary, The Eyes of Thailand, shared the successful birth of a new baby elephant on February 15.  One day later, Kamnoi and her healthy baby boy, whom they’ve since named Dante, arrived at FAE. To read the blog post, click here.

Baby elephant Dante attempts to nurse at FAE's Elephant Hospital.

Baby Elephant Dante attempts to nurse at FAE's Elephant Hospital.

I am happy to report that Kamnoi and Dante are continuing to bond, although he sometimes needs to get a boost to reach his mother to nurse!

Baby Dante gets a boost from FAE staff to nurse.

Baby Dante gets a boost from FAE staff to nurse.

Dr. Preecha and the staff at FAE are also supplementing his mother’s milk with goat’s milk.  Soriada wrote to explain:

Mother of Baby “Dante” does not have enough milk. She is feeding him but the milk is not enough. So, when he is still hungry, we feed him with goat milk.

Kamnoi watches as Dr. Preecha feeds Baby Dante at FAE.

Kamnoi watches as Dr. Preecha feeds Baby Dante at FAE.

Please send good thoughts for Dante to continue to grow to Soraida and her staff at FAE’s Elephant Hospital.  We’ll send updates as they come!

Sincerely,

Windy Borman

Director, Producer and Writer, The Eyes of Thailand

Dr. Preecha feeds Baby Dante at FAE.

Dr. Preecha feeds Baby Dante at FAE.

Elephant landmine survivors will receive new prostheses

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

On February 26, 2010, Soraida Salwala, Founder of the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital and featured in the elephant conservation documentary, The Eyes of Thailand, wrote to share:

Motala and Mosha are the same. Mosha is not happy since she could not wear the prosthetic leg last week. We are looking forward to the new ones being made on The National Elephant Day (13 March).

We look forward to sharing the new pictures of Mosha and Motala, two elephant landmine survivors also featured in The Eyes of Thailand, walking on their new prostheses next week.  Please check back after March 13, 2010.

-Windy Borman

Director, Producer and Writer, The Eyes of Thailand

FAE welcomes Baby Elephant

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

In addition to building prosthetic limbs for elephants (like Mosha and Motala) that step on landmines, the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital also treats elephants for everything from illness to injuries.

On February 15, 2010, Soraida Salwala, Founder of the FAE Elephant Hospital and featured in the elephant conservation documentary, The Eyes of Thailand, announced the successful birth of a new baby elephant:

A new baby was born at Mae Ping Camp in Chiang Mai last night. The baby weighs only 30 k.m. (same as Tiny). Dr. Preecha reached Pung Noi and her baby before noon. Preparation to transport both the mother and her male baby is being carefully carried out.

On February 16, 2010, Pung Kamnoi and her healthy baby boy arrived at FAE:

Dr. Preecha says the baby looks good. We have the soy milk ready in case his mother is not ready to feed him.

The first photos of the happy mother and baby appear below.

Kamnoi arrives at FAE by truck.

Kamnoi arrives at FAE by truck.

The staff at FAE encourage the wobbly newborn elephant to walk off the truck.

The staff at FAE encourage the wobbly newborn elephant to walk off the truck.

Kamnoi and her healthy baby boy.

Kamnoi and her healthy baby boy.

Kamnoi and her baby are bonding well.  She allows her baby to nurse.

Kamnoi and Baby Boy.

We are happy to see Kamnoi and her baby bonding and will share more news and photos as we get them.  Please stay tuned!

Sincerely,

Windy Borman

Producer, Director and Writer, The Eyes of Thailand

P.S. The Eyes of Thailand is currently fundraising to edit and distribute the film so we can tell the world about the plight of the Asian Elephants and share the great work that Soraida and her staff do at FAE.  To make a tax-deductible donation to the film, please visit our website and click “Donate Now“.  It will take you to the secure online donation page for our fiscal sponsor, The San Francisco Film Society. Thank you!

Update on Baby Namfon

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I have some sad news to share.  On December 18, 2009, Soraida wrote:

At 8.55 p.m. Baby Namfon fell on the sand and we helped her up, trying to walk her to the mattresses but she resisted. Now she is standing but shaking, urinated what we think has blood in it but will check for certain.

The owner has been contacted for final decision. He puts it in our hands. We shall do all we can to take good care of the Baby until the final moment comes.

Bless her,

Soraida

Within hours, Soraida wrote:

I am sorry to share with you this sad news. Baby Namfon could not make it, she died early this morning at 2.50 a.m.

We shall bury her next to Baby Dumbo, Tiny and Toansai.

We are all very sad but there are many more lives to be saved. MaeNoi who is expecting the baby needs our care, Somsri, Jok and other elephants are waiting to be tended too. Even though our hearts are heavy… we shall move on with our strong determination to help the elephants in need.

Thanks to you all for the support.

Soraida and all at FAE

I met Baby Namfon, an Asian Elephant who was rejected by her mother shortly after birth, while filming The Eyes of Thailand at FAE in August 2009.  At that time she was 5-months old, and, though slow to put on weight, still very curious about new people.

Baby Namfon and Julia in August 2009

Baby Namfon and Julia in August 2009

On December 14, 2009, Namfon was featured in the “Meet the Patients: Namfon” blog post.

Soraida, and all her staff and supporters at FAE, are in our thoughts.

-Windy Borman

Producer, Writer and Director, The Eyes of Thailand

Meet the Patients: Tahnee

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Unfortunately, Soraida and the vets at FAE cannot save every elephant that visits their hospital.  Tahnee was a 70+-year old elephant Asian Elephant and a permanent resident at FAE.  (Elephants can live for 60-80 years).  On December 5, 2009, Tahnee’s health began to deteriorate. Soraida reported:

Tahnee has saliva dripping from her mouth, does not eat grass just bananas. Has not drank water this morning. She eats and chews very slowly. Sign of old age, Dr. Preecha says.

Dr. Preecha starts an IV drip on Tahnne (December 5, 2009).

Dr. Preecha starts an IV drip on Tahnne (December 5, 2009).

By December 6 the situation was worse:

Tahnee’s hind legs are shaking and she does not want to lie down.  We are afraid she might hurt herself if she collapsed, so dried grass has been scattered around since last night.  Staff is putting up support railing at the Nursery, which has soft sand.

We will continue the [IV] drip, since she has not eaten nor drank.  It’s 12noon.  Her chance of survival is slim.

With tears, Soraida

Soraida with Tahnee on December 6, 2009.

Soraida with Tahnee on December 6, 2009.

On December 7, 2009, Tahnee collapsed. Soraida wrote:

Tahnee collapsed at 1:49 am and left in peace at 2:09am. No words could express how we all are feeling. She was a daughter, a sister, a friend and wherever she might be now, she remains in our hearts.

She will wake no more, Oh never more… Soraida

Tahnee's grave, December 8, 2009.

Tahnee's grave, December 8, 2009.

Meet the Patients: MaeNoi

Sunday, December 13th, 2009
mae-noi2

MaeNoi is helped off the truck after arriving at FAE.

December 12, 2009–New patient who arrived yesterday, MaeNoi, an eleven year old pregnant elephant, has been relieved from bloat. MaeNoi is already 15 months pregnant which means she was pregnant when she was only less than 10 years old. [According to Wikipedia, female elephants usually reach estrus around age 13 and carry the fetus for 22 months.  For more information, click here.]

Last night MaeNoi cried for her friends. They work at the hotel in Chiang Rai but  she managed to sleep for over an hour. Mosha is so interested in MaeNoi since they are both young, she climbed her fenced enclosure to have a look.

-Soriada
Founder, FAE

Meet the Patients: Namfon

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Namfon is the youngest elephant at FAE.  Earlier in 2009, we reported that:

Namfon was disowned by her mother, Boonpan, shorty after she was born on April 27, 2009.  Because elephants are social creatures, they learn parenting skills from the matriarchs in their herd.  Namfon’s mother never learned how to be a mother and therefore tried to trample Namfon when she attempted to nurse.   Soraida writes, “We tried to persuade Boonpan to recognize her own baby but her behaviour this morning was the intention to kill. They have to stay in different Infirmaries away from each other… Boonpan killed her first offspring and Namfon, which means “rain water”, is her second. We would not risk the baby’s life and shall do our best to make the two happy.”  After several unsuccessful atempts, FAE found an elephant from a nearby elephant camp who just weaned a baby to be Namfon’s wet nurse.  Several weeks later, she is beginning to gain some weight.

In August 2009, I met Namfon while filming the The Eyes of Thailand at FAE.  Here she is saying hello to Production Coordinator Julia.

namfon_julia

Namfon gives Julia a Hello sniff at FAE in August 2009.

Since then, Namfon has become more active, but still struggles with eating and putting on weight.  FAE is experiencing an usually cold winter, so they’ve given Namfon a blanket, which she wears as a “coat” on her walks.

Namfon walks with Dr. Kay at FAE.

Namfon walks with Dr. Kay at FAE.

On December 12, 2009, Soraida reported, “Baby Namfon has 13.1 Litres of milk yesterday and 2.5 litres this morning. Now she is having a walk with blanket over her body.”

We hope that her health continues to improve into 2010.

-Windy Borman

Producer, Writer and Director, The Eyes of Thailand

P.S. December 14, 2009–Soraida wrote: “Baby Namfon has fever, we are trying to do our best. I do not know what else to say, but she is standing, having slight difficulty in  breathing. Dr. Preecha and Dr. Kay are treating her.”

Elephant Nursing Home

Monday, October 26th, 2009

picture-22

Where do elephants go to retire?  No, that is not the start of a bad joke, it’s a legitimate question for an endangered species who was captured from the wild, domesticated (usually through brutal methods) and spent its life begging on the street, logging, performing at tourist camps or carrying back-fulls of tourists at trekking camps.

Starting on 21 November 2009, Thailand will send its “retired” elephants to The Pang-La Nursery Home for Aged Elephant, according to the Bangkok Post article published 10 Oct 2009.

I asked Soraida Salwala, founder of Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) and the World’s First Elephant Hospital, about her thoughts about a government-run Nursing Home for aging and “retired” elephants.  She wrote:

The Last Home Project (for the unwanted elephants) has been the project of Friends of the Asian Elephant since our inception in 1993. It has also been known widely among the authorities and officials of the Ministry, especially of the FIO, since their staff used to work closely with FAE in the first few years.

FAE could not carry out many projects as we have planned due to lack of funds and obstacles that never cease. However, our Last Home Project has been taken and the name (in Thai: BAAN LUNG SOUD TAIE) is used by the government sector, which I find it quite strange. Even though it is our initiative we are also happy that our many projects are being done by many government and private groups (in and outside Thailand). At the very least, the elephants will have a place to stay, being fed properly and with veterinary care. The only thing that troubles me is “will they be really taken care of properly?” and not being put for show and for other purposes.

How I wish that there are no more elephant politics in Thailand so the elephants management will be for the good of the elephants and those who truly care for them.

For the elephants,

Soraida Salwala

When asked if an Elephant Nursing Home is a good or a bad thing, Soraida wrote:

It is a good thing, it is from FAE’s projects, so how could it not be good! But I am concerned as to the hidden agendas. Government sectors are not supposed to receive donation money for their own gain, but they (FIO) do even though they receive over 100 million Baht Budget a year.

To read more about Thailand’s plan for an Elephant Nursing Home, please visit The Bangkok Post.

To learn more about The Eyes of Thailand documentary, which features Soraida Salwala and FAE, please visit the film’s webpage.

-Windy Borman

Producer, Writer and Director, The Eyes of Thailand

Japan Zoo wants to raise 2 baby Thai elephants

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Soraida Salwala, founder of Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE), is quoted in the Bangkok Post, speaking out against Thailand’s attempt to create trade goodwill with Japan by exporting 2 baby Thai Elephants to the Osaka Zoo.  Below is an excerpt from the September 13, 2009 article:

Soraida Salwala, founder of the Bangkok-based Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation, urged the minister to scrap the planned jumbo export.

“The government should keep the elephants here, while Tokyo should stop asking for the jumbos,” said Ms Soraida.

In May 2009, Windy Borman, Producer/Director of The Eyes of Thailand, blogged about an article (“Thai government considers banning export of elephants“- May 13, 2009), which stated Thailand tabled a law that would ban exporting elephants from Thailand for 5 years, while it reconsidered how to protect its national icon.

The Osaka Zoo article goes on to state:

Elephants are one of 51 wild animals listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which bans the export and import of listed animals except for educational and conservation purposes. However, some imports and exports of protected wild animals have been conducted under government-to-government animal exchange programmes.

If the export goes through, it would be a major set-back to Soraida’s and other animal welfare groups’ goal of protecting the endangered Asian Elephants.

You can read the full article at: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/23766/charnchai-backs-japanese-request-to-raise-two-jumbos-at-osaka-zoo

Baby Namfon and Aunty Motala

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
Baby Namfon walks down to her new nursery near Motala.

Baby Namfon walks down to her new nursery near Motala.

Soraida emailed the following update on Baby Namfon, who was rejected by her mother and has been nursed at the FAE Elephant Hospital since this spring, and Motala, the elephant landmine survivor who received her her first prosthetic limb on August 15, 2009–10 years after stepping on a landmine:

Motala is quite interested in Baby Namfon. When Namfon walked down, the baby was only looking for what was new to her. Now, Motala is always watching the Baby and Namfon is fond of playing in the bath tub. She is getting to know Aunty Motala, standing there, talking together and climbs into the bath once again. What a sight!

Asso. Prof. Therdchai and his team [from the Prostheses Foundation] will be here this afternoon to work on Motala’s Prosthetic Leg. Hope the noises from the machines would not scare the Baby.

Soraida

Soraida, Motala and Asso. Prof. Therdchai all appear in the documentary, The Eyes of Thailand.  We are currently raising post-production funds to distribute the film in 2010.  Please continue to support our efforts by making a tax-deductible donation through the film’s fiscal sponsor, The San Francisco Film Society, by clicking here.

Thank you,

Windy Borman

Producer, Writer and Director, The Eyes of Thailand