An Overview of Elephant Health Management in Southeast Asia
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2003
Parntep Ratanakorn, DVM, MSc (Pathobiology)
Faculty of Veterinary Science, Mahidol University
Salaya, Nakornpathom, Thailand


Southeast Asia region composes of 8 countries. Seven of them have Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) inhabitat in their territories namely Myanmar, Thailand, Lao , Cambodia , Vietnam , Malaysia and Indonesia. Total populations of both wild and domestic elephants are 23,515 which could be classified as 48.90 percent and 51.10 percent, respectively. Most of elephant health management are focused on domesticated group. Quite a few activities are implied to the wild one. Elephant health management in Southeast Asia are emphasized into the area of routine health care, health service, preventive care and health promotion. Routine and general health care in Southeast Asian countries are mostly dependent on mahout's experience in traditional medicine such as herbal medicine. Modern veterinary medicine in few countries are provided by veterinary officers who mainly in charge of livestock health. Therefore elephant health service is performed as an additional activities. Regularly preventive care in domestic elephants are not much concerned by mahouts, elephant owners and animal health officers in most countries. Whereas in a few counties, preventive care are implemented and serviced by NGOs and certain government authorities for example; campaign for yearly vaccination and deworming programme operated by department of livestock development and Asian Elephant Foundation of Thailand and etc.

Training of elephant veterinarians, mahouts and elephant owners in preventive and basic health care for elephants have been conducted in a limited numbers. Promotion of elephant health care which supposed to be the most important parameter for improving of domestic elephant health. It has been demonstrated that there is not fully support on this matter , including ignorance from some mahouts. In order to improve elephant health both sectors, Gos and NGOs , have to work together with understanding, strong determination and commitment for the benefit of our great creature, Asian elephants, in the future.

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Parntep Ratanakorn, DVM, MSc (Pathobiology)
Faculty of Veterinary Science, Mahidol University
Salaya, Nakornpathom, Thailand

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