On August 24 2012 I had an opportunity to escort a group of press tour who went to visit ” Pang Lah Elephant Sanctuary ” which located about 70 Km. away from Thai Elephant Conservation Center.. Pang Lah has played very important roles in the past as it was the “Young Elephant Training School” to train the Young Elephants for logging industry of The Forest Industry Organization which is the mother of Thai Elephant Conservation Center. Also the Young Elephant Training School had saved a lot of baby elephants in the past as there were many baby elephant died when they stayed with their mother while working, many died of falling down the cliff or bitten by the snake so Dr. Amnauy Korwanich had found this camp to nurse those baby elephants and train them in proper way and right age..
Below is the summary of Pang Lah information writing by Richard C Lair
Pang La Sanctuary was founded by Dr Amnauy Korwanich the former Director of the Forest Industry Organization is located in a quiet valley east of Lampang between kilometers 57-58 on Highway 1, the road to Chiang Rai. The valley, faced with beautiful limestone cliffs, is rich in natural food and water. The Sanctuary presently houses 32 ‘problem elephants’, elephants far past any commercial or working usefulness. Pang La is basically a hospice, a place where most of the elephants are privately-owned animals brought to die a quiet and peaceful death – sometimes very slowly – well cared for until the end.
Pang La is not geared to tourists, but it can be visited in the morning when some of the elephants are brought down from the hills for treatment and inspection.
The simplest, and the happiest, cases are a few healthy but old elephants retired by the Forest Industry Organization, the Thai Elephant Conservation Center’s parent organization. Most of Pang La’s residents are crippled elephants entrusted to FIO to provide care. A few of the cripples suffer from congenital deformities or early malnutrition but many have grotesques injuries caused by accidents, usually long ago logging accidents (a leg smashed by a log sliding downhill, spinal injuries from being toppled over by a runaway log, etc.). Fortunately, such mishaps are exceedingly rare since the Thai government banned all commercial logging in 1989.
A few other elephants are kept at Pang La simply because they are so dangerous that they are virtually useless in a work situation.
Pang La is a sad place, but also one with warm human qualities. Each elephant has a devoted keeper and excellent veterinary care. Elephants that in the West would probably be ‘euthanized’ are kept kindly with a good quality of life. This care was a huge financial burden for FIO until 2010, when the Thai government decided to fund salaries and other costs.
Pang La Sanctuary once had happier days as the Young Elephant Training School, the TECC’s precursor. In logging days, the school’s duty was to nurture and train calves during the 20 years before they became big and strong enough to drag and stack logs. In 1992 all of the healthy and good-natured elephants at Pang La were moved to the TECC, which was established to provide work and income lost with the end of logging.
Note: I was there with over 50 journalists for local and nationwide. There are 28 elephants under great care by the mahouts and experienced vets.. I love this place as all elephants are roaming free in the natural forest and every Wednesday and Tuesday all elephants will be at the treatment area for health check by the vet so for me Pang Lah is true home of Thai Elephant..
Map of Pang La Elephant Sanctuary
View Pang Lah Elephant Rehabilitaion Center in a larger map
Above: This elephant has joint dislocation
Above: All elephants are very old
Above: Many elephants are regarded as very dangerous and some of them used to kill the people in the past
Above: This elephant is in Musth
Above: This male elephant seems to have broken leg
Above: This elephant names ” Pumpaung ” she is completely blind elephant
Above: This elephant name ” Wassana” he used to work at TECC before and then move to Pang Lah as he lost the last set of his teeth ( Old ) but now he is in Musth
Above: Many elephant has no name as they were arrested and confiscated during illegal logging and no one claimed for those elephant.. Many elephants were named ” Chang Khong Klang ” means Confiscated elephant
Above: This is where our dedicated mahouts stays and sleep 26 days a month
Above: The workers are helping each other to make Herbal medicine for those old elephants..
Above: Old elephants are eating Herbal medicine which help to improve their digestion system.. ( This herbal makes elephant eat more foods and feel hungry, but giving them too much this might cause the in Musth and naughty )
Above: Elephant bone can be seen at this place
Above: There are three elephant skeletons displayed just closed to the parking areat
Above: autopsy is also operated for every dead elephants and then those body will be cremated. It might take about a week to cremate the body of dead elephant.
Note: It’s sad to display all this pictures for me, but this is the truth of our life that nothing lasts forever.. I am so happy to be back here again and see dedicated work of wonderful mahouts who just work behind beautiful scene..
Photo by: Supat Sutti
Text by Supat Sutti
Ps. You might find a lot of mistake in writing English, but I have tried very hard to do it. I wish all photos could explain better then my writing and I wish you will enjoy it..