Founder of world’s first elephant hospital in Northern Thailand, Soraida Salwala, resigns

Anyone who loves Thailand’s elephants is familiar with Soraida Salwala. She is one of the staunchest supporters of the creatures and founder the world’s first elephant hospital in Lampang, Thailand.

The hospital is home to a few elephants that have stepped on landmines near the Myanmar border and lost their legs. Two of the elephants there were the first in the world to wear prosthetic legs. Of those two, Mosha, a precocious young elephant that lost her leg as a baby, has gained worldwide fame as fans have watched her grow and have her leg replaced each year on viral videos that are nothing short of heartwarming.

Surprisingly, Soraida created a Facebook post announcing that she is resigning yesterday to the dismay of many of her fans and supporters, who don’t believe anyone can run the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation and Hospital as well as she has for the last 25 years.

She said that the foundation’s board will assume her duties until a replacement is found and thanked everyone for their support.

She did not make it clear if she was resigning in connection with any specific issue but the foundation and hospital encountered funding problems earlier this year that ended in Soraida announcing that she would close the hospital due to low-funding and her own health issues.

At that point, very quickly, supporters raised THB40 million (US$1.2 million) and the hospital remained open.

We have reached out to Soraida for comment and will update the story with any reply.

Check out our original Coconuts video about Soraida and Mosha’s special bond:


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