Reprieve for troubled Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation after Bt20m surge in donations (Lampang, Thailand)


The Nation

Date Published

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Since the founder of the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation announced the organisation’s closure early last week due to inadequate funding, more than Bt20 million in public donations had flowed into one of the foundation’s accounts, giving its famed elephant hospital a reprieve.

On Friday, founder Soraida Salwala posted on Facebook that when she checked the foundation’s Kasikorn bank account, she discovered transfers of over Bt20 million had been made since last Monday.

She said she had not yet checked the foundation’s Siam Commercial Bank account.

Soraida wrote that she initially sent a staff member to update the account book but it could not be done because of overwhelming number of transactions, so she instead requested details of the account balance.

She revealed that the balance on Monday had been Bt1,380,354 on Monday, but on Friday had soared to Bt21,328,433.

“I was lost for words, and could not hold back my tears,” she wrote. I told Doctor (vet) Ke to tell all staff of the foundation that I thanked them. Because of their work, the people have mercy for us to continue to our work. I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the people.”

The Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation runs the world’s first elephant hospital in Lampang province, which opened 25 years ago.

On Monday, Soraida announced that she had a health problem and that her foundation was in a financial crisis, so she had no choice but to close the hospital.

The foundation works in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organisations, and local company Elephant Parade. Many fear that if the elephant hospital closes, many aged and sick mammals would face an uncertain future.

The foundation has won recognition for its campaigns for the rights of Asian elephants and preventing the mammals being kept in big cities such as Bangkok. It was responsible for the full-time care of disabled elephants Motala, Mocha and Pai Bobo.

Soraida said in her Facebook post on Monday that the foundation had posted a negative balance sheet for 11 years in a row, overspending by more than Bt2 million.

People wishing to help the foundation in its final year, may transfer money to Kasikron bank via its Ramintra branch at 088-2-20983-0 or SCB bank account, Ratchayothin branch, at 111-2-27207-8 or pay cash addressed to Friends of the Asian Elephant at Hang Chat district post office. Evidence of the donation can be sent to the foundation via email [email protected] or by fax 054-829-308.

To find out how to donate to @FAEeleHosp please visit: