Dr. Preecha Phaungkum

Dr. Preecha is the Chief Veterinarian of Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation. He has worked at the FAE hospital from it’s opening in 1993 and his involvement is so crucial to the elephants’ welfare that Soraida couldn’t have grown the FAE Elephant Hospital without him.

Ironically, Dr. Preecha never dreamed of becoming a veterinarian and renowned elephant expert — he wanted to be a soldier. But on his way to Chiang Mai to enlist, he stopped in Lampang to say goodbye to old friends, who luckily convinced him to stay in Lampang. This nostalgic trip helped open the door to his future journey into elephant welfare and healing.

He is now one of the most highly respected elephant veterinarians in Thailand with increasing demand to help elephants abroad. The most extreme cases have taken him to places like Japan and China. He is also dedicated to educating himself and others on the latest issues in elephant veterinary care. The latest example being his attendance to the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herepesvirus (EEHV) Workshop in Singapore in November 2015, where he learned about the latest fatal disease sweeping both captive and wild elephant populations.

In addition to his work with FAE, Dr. Preecha spent 15 years caring for elephants in the logging industry and an additional 10 years as the first Director of National Elephant Institute. He has also authored a handbook, Elephant Care Manual for Mahouts and Keepers, detailing the proper care of elephants for not only keepers, but also any of those who own or handle elephants.