Phlai Ekkachai, single-tusk jumbo, dies in hospital

Phlai Ekkachai, 44, a single-tusk bull elephant, lies dead on Thursday morning at the Elephant Hospital in Lampang, shortly after falling sick. (Photo from Vet Preecha Phuangkham Facebook page)

LAMPANG: Phlai Ekkachai, a single-tusk male elephant working in the tourist sector, died on Thursday at the Elephant Hospital in Hang Chat district.

The 44-year-old elephant had been admitted to the hospital, run by the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE), after suddenly falling ill.  

Phlai Ekkachai, who worked in the forest hauling logs before being drafted in tourist service in Chiang Mai, developed abdominal swelling and breathing difficulties, which were attributed to problems in his alimentary canal and digestive system.  

A team of veterinarians tried in vain to save his life. 

Phlai Ekkachai died at 7.48am on Thursday, said Preecha Phuangkham, director of the Elephant Hospital, who posted the sad news on his Facebook page.

Samples of the dead elephant’s tissue and blood wqere sent for laboratory tests to find out the exact cause of death.

FAE secretary-general Soraida Salwala led staff at the foundation in a traditional ceremony for the dead elephant. A local wisdom scholar performed the rites to send Phlai Ekkachai's soul to heaven.

Vet Preecha Phuangkham's message on his Facebook page, announcing the death of Phlai Ekkachai.


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