Help comes too late for ailing Pattaya elephant

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Help was offered too late to save a sick elephant photographed at Pattaya’s Sanctuary of Truth, as the pachyderm died before volunteers could transport the animal to Surin for treatment.

Boonnapa Nartphat, a 20-year-old volunteer with the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation rescue squad, had posted a photo of 50-year-old Samruay on Facebook earlier this month along with the message that it needed a veterinarian’s help.

Four monks at Banglamung Temple perform a Buddhist ceremony for the deceased elephant.

She offered her family’s 10-wheeled truck, but asked for someone to donate the services of a crane to lift the infirm jumbo onto it, as it could not walk.

Chanika Bamrungpakdee, owner of Thonglor Animal Hospital in Bangkok, donated medicine and fluids prior to calling the Banglamung District Livestock Department.

But by the time livestock officer Samart Buthsasom examined Samruay, it had slipped into a coma. He provided antibiotics and fluids, but said it needed to be treated at an elephant hospital in Surin’s Prasat District.

Samruay died before that could happen. The truck was used instead to its body to Banglamung Temple where four monks preformed a Buddhist ceremony. An excavator dug a grave at the temple, the only one in the region that does services for elephants.

Sanctuary of Truth spokesman Chat Jayawong said the elephant was owned by a couple from Surin who have lived there for many years providing elephant rides to tourists. However, fireworks on New Year’s Eve frightened the jumbo and it had not been the same since, falling into depression and illness.

The owners said they might return to Surin, but noted they still have a 30-year-old elephant in use at the wooden temple in Naklua.