By Lyndsay Oxley
Rebecca Hanley and Eleana Evans visited the Hutsadin Elephant Foundation in Hua Hin for a month, taking with them 60,000 Thai Baht
Two Teesside student veterinary nurses put their newly-taught skills to good use to care for mistreated elephants in Thailand during the summer.
Rebecca Hanley and Eleana Evans, who have been friends for the past five years, visited the Hutsadin Elephant Foundation in Hua Hin for a month after raising more than £1,000 to take with them.
The pair’s visit left a lasting impression on the Foundation which was recently targeted by thieves.
Rebecca and Eleana, who are students at Myerscough College, in Lancashire, were inspired to help after hearing that the Foundation compound had been broken into by thieves who had attacked two of the elephants in care by sawing their tusks off.
During their visit, Rebecca, of Coulby Newham, and Eleana, from Norton, cared for the two attacked animals along with the others living at the Foundation.
In total they cared for six elephants, the youngest being five years old and the oldest being 92, all of which have suffered hardship, with one being almost blind and another having no teeth.
After raising the money through donations and raffles held at the two veterinary practices where they both work, it was converted to 60,000 Thai Baht.
Relying solely on charitable donations to survive, the Foundation were extremely grateful for the gift.
During their visit, the money helped to buy an elephant shelter big enough for two elephants, 15 bags of horse food for the older elephants with no teeth, five months worth of protein, nine months worth of vitamin tablets, three giant food bowls, five buckets and five muck baskets. Rebecca, 20, who works at Rosslyn Veterinary Centre in Linthorpe said: “We learned a lot about elephants and their behaviour. We learned to trust and work with them which other students and veterinary nurses may never get the chance to do.”
As well as elephants, Rebecca and Eleana, who is part of the team of Vets4pets in Marton, also worked as part of a dog rescue team.
Visting many packs in Hua Hin, they helped to give the animals general health checks, cared for small wounds and bonded with some of the more nervous dogs to make it easier if they ever need to have treatment. Rebecca said: “It has helped us to learn to work without the resources that we have in our fully-equipped practices and to improvise with what he had to hand.”
Now they’ve had a taster, the pair want to go back to the Foundation next year. They also hope to inspire other veterinary nurses and animal lovers to follow in their footsteps and help similar animal foundations throughout the world.
Rebecca said: “We are both very pleased with the work we did and are proud of how much we raised and how far it went. It is a great feeling knowing you’ve made such a difference.”