EleVETS™: Training, Teaching, Showing, Sharing
In 2017, Work for Wild Life International's founder and director, Hollis Burbank-Hammarlund, created and piloted the very first EleVETS Project in Sri Lanka in partnership with Dr. Susan Mikota of Elephant Care International and the University of Peradeniya.
Our team of elephant veterinarians worked hand-in-hand with 21 practicing Sri Lankan veterinarians over a six-day period to help bring about sustainable improvements in the health, care, and management of captive elephants in Sri Lanka.
Help Wanted ~ Will Train
Asian elephants are an important part of the culture, traditions, ecology, and economy of countries throughout Southeast Asia, from India and Nepal in the west to Borneo in the east.
Thousands of captive elephants across this vast region have been forced into a lifetime of chained servitude often characterized by chronic pain, isolation, and suffering.
Elephants are used in the tourist industry, in logging camps, for religious ceremony, and for personal prestige. Unfortunately, many receive little or no professional veterinary care.
In many countries, training in the treatment and prevention of common conditions and diseases that affect captive elephants is minimal or absent. While there are many practicing veterinarians, few receive specialized university training in elephant health care; most veterinary curriculums focus on domestic livestock and companion animals with little applicability to Asian elephants.
With too few knowledgeable veterinarians conditions such as painful foot abnormalities, parasitic diseases, intestinal illnesses, wounds, and infections often do not receive proper treatment or go untreated.
Moreover, injuries sustained by wild elephants often go untreated as well with so few skilled veterinarians available. Many die from injuries such as snare, gunshot, and haka pata (explosives) wounds, or traffic and train collisions, etc.
Dr. Susan Mikota teaches EleVETS participants proper foot care techniques during the field clinic.
Coming in 2018 ~ More EleVETS™ Workshops (not just for veterinarians)
We're going to Myanmar in September!
Work for Wild Life International is once again teaming up with Elephant Care International, NGOs, and veterinarians from around the globe in 2018 to bring quality veterinary care and welfare training to veterinarians, veterinary technicians, mahouts, sanctuary staff and volunteers who are responsible for the care and wellbeing of captive elephants throughout Asia.
Dr. Susan Mikota, Dr. Tharaka Deepal, and Hollis Burbank-Hammarlund at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, Sri Lanka during the EleVETS field clinic. The tusker in this photo was being washed by mahouts in preparation for the evening's Esala Perahera.
EleVETS Sri Lanka participants analyze elephant urine to identify health issues during the field clinic portion of this 2017 program.