Saturday, November 10, 2018

Canadian tourist’s leg crushed by elephant in Thailand


A 38-year-old Canadian tourist was injured when her left leg was crushed by an elephant’s trunk after she fell off the pachyderm at an elephant camp near Nark Kerd Hill in Chalong.

The woman is being treated at Bangkok Hospital Phuket.

Wirawit Pakprom, the elephant’s mahout, told police that the female tourist and a male friend were riding on the back of an 16-year-old male elephant named “Plai Benz”.

An initial report said that the elephant was eating a pineapple at the side of the route, about about 80 metres from the elephant mounting point.

The Canadian woman was taking photos and not holding onto the chair when the elephant shook its body and she fell to the ground.

When she fell off, the elephant panicked and pushed on the tourist’s left leg with its trunk.

Chalong Police have visited the tourist in hospital.

The elephant camp says it will pay for the tourist’s medical fees.

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https://www.eturbonews.com/237702/canadian-tourists-left-leg-crushed-by-elephant-in-thailand

Friday, November 09, 2018

Man Trampled to Death by Wild Elephants in Western Thailand


KANCHANABURI – A Thai man hunting for wild mushrooms in Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary in western Thailand was trampled to death by wild elephants on Sunday.

Prasan Thongdonmuen, 42, and two friends went into Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary in Sri Sawat district on Sunday, Suriya Kaewdamrong, the Sri Sawat deputy police chief, said.

One of Prasan’s his companions told police that while searching for mushrooms they accidentally disturbed a herd of elephants. All three turned and fled. He and his friend lost track of Prasan and later returned along the track, looking for him. Instead, they found his body.

Pol Col Suriya said Prasan’s body was severely crushed, suffering major trauma. The body was sent to Tha Kradan Hospital for postmortem examination.

Prasan was the second recent victim of wild elephants in that area. Kamolchai Chanthawong, 54, was killed on Oct 15 while collecting wild plants.

According to wildlife sanctuary officials, about 30 wild elephants live in the area.

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https://www.chiangraitimes.com/man-trampled-to-death-by-wild-elephants-in-western-thailand.html







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https://elephantsthailand.blogspot.com/2018/11/man-trampled-to-death-by-wild-elephants.html

OLD ELEPHANTS FORCED TO GIVE RIDES FOR DECADES ARE NOW BEST FRIENDS


Nam Phon was one of the first elephants to retire at the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) Elephant Refuge in 2004. She lived a peaceful life at the refuge for six years, enjoying her days in the company of her own kind after spending most of her life carrying tourists at various elephant camps.

But in 2010, Nam Phon’s former owner decided to take her back – and force her into hard labor once more.

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

“It is most likely that she was poached from the wild as an infant, witnessing her mother and other herd members butchered and then sold on into the logging industry, and later into the tourist industry,” WFFT wrote on Facebook. “She has been at elephant camps giving rides to tourists each day for the last five years. The camp in which she came from is notoriously known as an abusive place for elephants.”

Nam Phon’s ‘”resting place” at the elephant camp |Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

At the time of her initial rescue, WFFT didn’t have the finances needed to pay elephant owners to allow their animals to permanently retire at the sanctuary.

Nam Phon’s restraints while at the elephant camp |Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

So, Nam Phon was ripped away from her home and friends, sentenced to more years of hard labor. However, after negotiating with Nam Phon’s owner for years, WFFT was able to bring her back, rescuing her from a nearby trekking camp in west Thailand in March 2016.

Nam Fon on the day of her rescue |Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

Upon her arrival, Nam Phon, who is now 55, was greeted by her old friends, Khan Kluey and Somboon – and ever since her return, she has become close to another female elephant at the refuge, Jele.

Jele |Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

Jele, who is 60, was found chained to a tree and left to die after her use as a trekking elephant came to an end. But she was rescued, rehabilitated and came to show off her true personality as a friendly and confident elephant – and a master escape artist at that, according to WFFT. She’s managed to make it out of her enclosure three times.

Nam Fon and Jele |Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

It only made sense that a senior girl like Jele would have a thing or two to teach Nam Phon, who is more relaxed and loves to amble at her own pace.

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

The pair is now practically inseparable and they are often seen “holding hands” with their trunks.

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

Even though Nam Phon’s back legs are slightly lame from all the labor she’s endured, she seems to have little trouble keeping up with her adventurous best friend.

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

More importantly, both elephants now get to spend their golden years together, free from the cycle of abuse they once had no choice but to engage in.

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http://www.aboutfamilypets.com/old-elephants-forced-to-give-rides-for-decades-are-now-best-friends/

Man Trampled to Death by Wild Elephants in Western Thailand


KANCHANABURI – A Thai man hunting for wild mushrooms in Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary in western Thailand was trampled to death by wild elephants on Sunday.

Prasan Thongdonmuen, 42, and two friends went into Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary in Sri Sawat district on Sunday, Suriya Kaewdamrong, the Sri Sawat deputy police chief, said.

One of Prasan’s his companions told police that while searching for mushrooms they accidentally disturbed a herd of elephants. All three turned and fled. He and his friend lost track of Prasan and later returned along the track, looking for him. Instead, they found his body.

Pol Col Suriya said Prasan’s body was severely crushed, suffering major trauma. The body was sent to Tha Kradan Hospital for postmortem examination.

Prasan was the second recent victim of wild elephants in that area. Kamolchai Chanthawong, 54, was killed on Oct 15 while collecting wild plants.

According to wildlife sanctuary officials, about 30 wild elephants live in the area.

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https://www.chiangraitimes.com/man-trampled-to-death-by-wild-elephants-in-western-thailand.html

Monday, November 05, 2018

A man and a piano in the Thai jungle are bringing peace to tortured elephants

A British pianist, living in Thailand, has taken his craft to entirely new heights. Somewhere, deep in the jungle, 57-year-old Paul Barton has dragged …

To read the full article, click on the story title.

UK man performs piano for previous elephants in Thailand sanctuary: Video


A British pianist, living in Thailand, has taken his craft to entirely new
heights.

Somewhere, deep in the jungle, 57-year-old Paul Barton has dragged his
piano into a clearing, on the banks of the River Kwai, to play music for old,
injured and disabled elephants.

The self-taught pianist met his larger than life audience during a visit to an
elephant sanctuary with his wife in 2011.

“I wondered if these old elephants might like to listen to some slow
classical music when I arrived, so I asked if I could bring my piano along
and they allowed it,” Mr Barton said.

Roping in a bunch of mates to help him load his upright piano onto the
back of a ute, Mr Barton drove it up the mountain and into the middle of
the Elephants World sanctuary.

Untethered and free to wander and graze as they please, elephants would
surround Mr Barton and his piano during each visit, fascinated by the
calming sounds of Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Debussy.

Mr Barton uploads videos of his jungle concerts to his YouTube channel,
showing baby elephants who squeak and bark along to the music, and
older elephants that flap their ears and sway as the he plays.

“It’s said elephants memorise your scent and will think of you as a friend
the next time you’re together,” he said.

“When I play music to elephants I always feel calm and happy.”

Mr Barton will calm the elephants, welcoming him to his
piano before sitting down to play for them. Picture: YouTube

According to Mr Barton, it’s a feeling most of the sanctuary’s residents
haven’t felt in a long time.

Many of the elephants ended up there after falling victim to ivory hunters,
while others were left injured, abused or homeless after a lifetime working
for humans on deforestation sites across Thailand.

Mr Barton said the first time he played his piano in the jungle, a blind
elephant called Pla-Ra stopped eating his breakfast and stood completely
still “listening to the music with grass protruding from his mouth”.
Pla-Ra had come to the sanctuary after his previous owner removed and
sold his tusks.

“A bad infection set in and he was often in pain from the holes where his
tusks had been cruelly removed,” Mr Barton said.

“I like to think that the soothing music gave him some comfort in the
darkness.”

Sadly, Pla-Ra didn’t survive the infection.

“I became very close to Pla-Ra and I was devastated when he died,” he
said.

I’m calling it: This story will be snatched up and made into an Oscarwinning
feature film, starring the kind old Morgan Freeman, before you
can say “pachyderm”.

Mr Barton says he has devloped a deep affection for the
animals at Elephants World sanctuary. Picture: YouTube

Mr Barton chooses particular songs he thinks each elephant will like.
It must work because he has been doing it for years and has some
seriously big fans.

“Elephants are emotional animals, like us, and I’m just following my
instincts to play music for them,” he said.

“All I can do is hope that the work we do can make the lives of these
rescued elephants a little bit better.”

Mr Barton said sometimes the elephants even drape their trunks over the
piano to “explore the keys for themselves”.

“I hope that music like this will be part of a process of rehabilitation for
elephants that have had stressful lives,” he said.

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:
https://pacific.epeak.in/2018/11/05/uk-man-performs-piano-for-previous-elephants-in-thailand-sanctuary-video/

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

‘Re-wilding’ Thailand’s elephants is unworkable


Re: “Finally, co-operation to end cruel abuse of these gentle Thai giants”, Have Your Say, yesterday.

Elephant polo tournaments must be one of the most idiotic ideas ever conjured up by Homo sapiens, and as far as I can make out these events, although no doubt raising funds for charity, were primarily designed to provide an opportunity for Bangkok’s “high society” to parade around in funny hats and get themselves featured in Thailand Tatler magazine. However, Paul Tweddell, presumably a supporter or member of that cult-like movement PETA, gets in on the act to tell us that the pachyderms should be returned to “the wild”. Well, good luck with that. PETA’s founder and current president Ingrid Newkirk, a woman with some very strange ideas, envisages a time when all dogs, instead of being kept as pets, will also live out their natural lives in “the wild”, which, if these folks get their way, is going to become a very crowded place. Indeed, I doubt if there is enough of “the wild” left in Thailand to support all this teeming animal life. At least the elephant camps provide safe havens for these (usually) gentle giants, and it would surely be more practical for PETA to promote high animal-welfare standards in these camps, rather than espousing crazy and unworkable theories.

Robin Grant

Bangkok

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http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/your_say/30357038

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Elephant Polo Ends in Thailand After Investigation Finds Cruelty


Bangkok – The Thailand Elephant Polo Association isn’t seeking permission for a 2019 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament and has ceased operations in Thailand, effectively marking the end of elephant polo in the country, after the findings of a PETA Asia exposé horrified sponsors, causing them to withdraw. This development comes after damning video footage released by PETA Asia showed handlers viciously beating elephants at last year’s tournament, prompting a global outcry and a dozen companies—including Ecolab, IBM, Angus Energy, Banfi Vintners, and Vespa—to pull their sponsorships of the cruel competition. The video also showed elephants being subjected to other abusive treatment, including being chained in standing water.

“No one with any decency or compassion wants elephants to be beaten bloody and forced to play polo, give rides, or perform stupid tricks,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is pleased that this abusive spectacle is now history, and we’re committed to ensuring that all other animal-exploiting stunts disappear, too.”

The footage from PETA Asia’s investigation, which was shot from the windows of hotels and apartments near the tournament venue, showed handlers in a holding area next to the polo grounds repeatedly beating and jabbing elephants’ heads with bullhooks—weapons resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end—which they also used to yank the animals by their extremely sensitive ears. Some elephants were beaten until they bled, and one was left chained in water all day.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that elephants used for polo tournaments, rides, or any other type of entertainment endure violent training sessions to force them into submission, during which they’re regularly beaten. Between matches, they’re often shackled to chains so short that the animals can barely take a single step.

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https://www.peta.org/media/news-releases/elephant-polo-ends-in-thailand-after-investigation-finds-cruelty/

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Elephants ruin Korat corn harvest


Nakhon Ratchasima farmers have been promised assistance after wild elephants from Thap Lan National Park ravaged cornfields as much as two kilometres away.

“They ate my crop just days before I planned to harvest it,” Jamnong Karbbua, 45, lamented on Sunday. “My neighbours have also faced the same problem.” He’d used various tactics to keep away roving elephants but they’d still managed to stomp and chew through four rai of corn. National Park chief Prawit Saengsakul inspected the damage in person and the authorities pledged to prepare “remedial action” for the farmers affected.

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http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30356867

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Elephant auction nets $16,700 for local charities and more


ERWIN — With auctioneer Kimball Sterling presiding over the bidding, Saturday's Erwin Elephant Revival auction of eight baby elephant statues raised $16,700 for local charities and two nonprofit elephant protection groups.

Jamie Rice, president of the RISE Erwin young professionals organization, which brought the benefit public art auction to town for the first time last year, was excited over the the results.

“We did great. They all sold. We raised a lot of money for a lot of charities. And we’re excited we will be able to keep this public art auction going.”

Rice estimated a crowd of about 50 people stood through the rain that fell on the early afternoon auction at The Gathering Place park downtown to bid and say farewell as the popular little elephant herd left town.

“The rain didn’t dampen their spirits. They all came here to support the Elephant Revival and we’re thrilled it’s going to continue. Our third herd of baby elephant statues will debut in May, and we’re already looking for sponsors,” Rice said.

The buyers and sponsors were happy as well.

Jim Davis, owner of the McDonald’s of Erwin, was both, sponsoring an elephant to benefit the Ronald McDonald House and purchasing an elephant that will also go the local Ronald McDonald House, if there’s room for it, he said. “If not, it will go to my house.”

Nancy Murphy of Johnson City was quite happy with her purchase of Chintz, the paisley elephant from which the lion’s share of the proceeds will go the Holston United Methodist Home for Children. Chintz, meanwhile, was destined for Murphy’s living room.

Lori and Jenna Miller of Gray were two more happy buyers, and were likewise taking their new elephant, Stella, home to Gray, where she will go on display alongside the baby elephant statue they purchased in last year’s auction.

Other nonprofit beneficiaries of Saturday’s auction included Relay for Life of Unicoi County, Love Chapel Christian Church in Erwin, The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, and the Elephant Parade of Thailand charitable foundation for the protection of Asian elephant habitats.

To sponsor an elephant in next year’s auction, or for more details about the Erwin Elephant Revival, contact Jamie Rice at communications@erwintn.org or 423-220-7624.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Art-Culture/2018/10/20/Elephant-auction-nets-16-700-for-local-charities-and-more

SPECIAL REPORT: Wildlife forensics gives a new voice to illegally hunted wildlife


Young wildlife researcher Kanita Ouitvon was shocked when she first saw the number of animal species, many unknown to her, that were up for sale at a local market in the North some years ago, when she had just joined the National Parks Department (DNP).

“Depressing and distressing” were the words that came to Kanita’s mind that day, as she realised that poaching was part of tradition and people’s livelihoods, and that wildlife consumption was part of their everyday lives.

“It’s something that has stuck in my mind since, and I’ve always wanted to help in anyway I can,” Kanita said as she recalled realising on that day long ago that gaps in law enforcement had to be filled in to nail down poachers and save wildlife.

Understanding that the undeniable truth was hidden in DNA, Kanita decided to pursue her Doctorate degree in Molecular Biology at Kasetsart University, where she had earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Forestry. She earned the Doctorate before returning to the department, where she pushed to create the country’s first wildlife forensic science unit with the support of her ex-chief at the Wildlife Conservation Office, Chatchawan Pitdamkham.

Wildlife forensics

Thailand was hardly aware of wildlife forensics until a team of forensic police, led by former commissioner of the Office of Police Forensic Science and adviser to Royal Thai Police, Pol General Jarumporn Suramanee, investigated the gruesome killing of two elephants in Kaeng Krachan National Park between 2010 and 2012. There, the team applied the knowledge of forensic science to solve the case and catch the poachers.

Forensic science is applied to both human and wildlife killings following the same principles and work approach, said Jarumporn, who was appointed to a special panel by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to help in the high-profile case of a black leopard killing earlier this year.

Establishing a crime scene as the entry point, examining “all related evidence” is the next step in the process of discovering who committed the crime. Jarumporn explained that “forensic evidence” helps tell the tale of what and how the crime happened, or “modus operandi” (method of operation). This will then lead to the motives behind the actions and to the culprits, Jarumporn added.

A crucial part of forensic work is DNA. DNA “cannot be wrong”, especially since brutally killed animals cannot speak for themselves and often come in pieces. Hence, DNA checks are increasingly being relied on to help resolve wildlife crimes.

The forensics

It was on a month-long training programme by the UK-based Trace Wildlife Forensics Network that Kanita realised how critical DNA examination of wildlife forensics would be to resolving wildlife crimes.

Forensics, she explained, comes from the Latin word, forensis, which means “discuss” or “debate”. As applied to court procedures, the process involves finding facts and evidence to support their arguments in court.

Forensic science used to help resolve court cases, or “forensics”, refers to applying any known science to find or confirm facts in evidence, or what Kanita calls, “the answers”, to the point that the court can be convinced to accept them and proceed with legal action.

In other countries, wildlife forensics has been further developed thanks to the success some three decades ago in developing the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) – a laboratory technique to multiply DNA strands to identify or find certain DNA, according to Kanita.

The introduction of PCR and DNA Sequencing technologies have led to a leapfrogging in knowledge and has been extensively applied to other fields, including wildlife forensics.

“DNA is something tremendously specific and therefore cannot be wrong. Unlike normal research, they are not just samples, but ‘evidence’ and with their straightforwardness they are accepted by the court,” Kanita explained.

While some university labs take samples for testing upon request, a small two-container lab initiated by Kanita has become focused on the work, and over time has helped tackle wildlife crimes in line with the department’s law-enforcement mission.

Since its opening around eight years ago, the DNP’s Wildlife Forensic Science Unit (DNP-WIFOS) laboratory, which Kanita heads, has so far taken nearly 4,800 pieces of evidence from 285 cases.

Starting with small cases related to the hunting of wild animals such as barking deer, the lab has taken on evidence of increasingly serious cases ranging from trafficking of African ivory to the recent high profile case of black-leopard poaching in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. That case involves construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta, the Italian-Thai Development Plc president. The latest case involves the killing of a bearcat in Sai Yok National Park, in which the deputy district chief of Makham Tia district in Kanchanaburi province is a suspect.

Into the DNA

Unlike human forensics, which focuses on the single species of Homo Sapiens, wildlife forensics work on a number of species that can be found worldwide, and so Kanita sees this as a “different challenge” for her lab.

In the tiny space where chemical and biological elements as well as other laboratory tools are deployed to help reveal the truth hidden in the DNA, the nine members of DNP-WIFOS lab are busy decoding DNA hidden in items that range from blood stains to the butchered flesh of wild animals.

Kanita said her team of scientists try to answer two key questions to resolve wildlife crimes. First, they need to discover from blood and flesh samples what kind of the animals they were. Second, whether the animals are protected species. It’s species identification using the DNA Sequencing method.

Answering such seemingly simple questions can help confirm whether the animals had fallen victim in the forest, Kanita said.

In the more complicated cases such as the black leopard or the binturong (bearcat) cases, Kanita’s team needs to go on to learn whether or not the scattered pieces of flesh, or the blood stains, found at the scenes belonged to the same animals. This is the process of individual identification using DNA fragment analysis, which can also be applied to the cases, under which relationships of the animals are needed to be established, or the process of parentage testing.

Such established facts help nail down the culprits, regardless of what they claim the animals were, the DNA will accurately determine the truth. The dead animal cannot be something other than what the DNA says, Kanita explained, adding that the findings lack bias and are straightforward due to the nature of the work and the DNA.

The chain of custody

Since evidence collected from crime scenes is critical to court cases, the process of collecting evidence at the scene is also a critical part of the success of their work.

A “chain of custody”, the protection of evidence from the origins to the destination at her lab, has been introduced with new procedures being developed and applied to cases.

In the lab, the chain of custody has also been applied.

All these precautions ensure that the evidence collected from the crimes scenes is truely original, and that the original evidence is not lost or swapped along the way.

Records of evidence and actions, as well as the people involved, are produced. Combined with the results of the DNA testing, a case file will be produced to accompany the police reports to be submitted to the court.

Kanita’s work, however, is not finished yet.

In every court case her team works on, Kanita must go to court to testify. She cannot say how many times she has testified now, because the lab is constantly busy testing DNA from pieces of evidence sent them almost daily – around 800 a year on average.

Kanita just hopes the lab space and staff are expanded, as they need more help. Wildlife crimes are still being committed despite the state suppression.

Park and wildlife rangers, she added, should get systematic training on the chain of custody so that they will be equipped with the knowledge and are able to guard the evidence needed in the cases from the start, including evidence collection.

WIFOS lab has progressed during the past eight years with accumulation of experiences, and Thailand has recently been recognised along with Malyasia, Indonesia, and Vietnam at the Asia Wildlife Forensics Network Meeting as the country in the region where wildlife DNA forensic capacity exists or is developing.

The critical work that has earned it praise from other countries are the recent completion of the domestic elephant DNA database and the current efforts to create the national DNA database for captive tigers as Thailand is the only one country inthe region that has managed to develop such the databases.

WIFOS lab head, meanwhile, just hopes the very existence of the lab as a critical tool to help dig up the deepest truths, will help deter the ill intention of culprits.

“I just hope they will realise that it’s not easy to shoot a wild animal any more. At least we have the tool to trace them; with that at least they should think twice before committing a crime,” Kanita concluded.

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https://news.thaivisa.com/article/27322/special-report-wildlife-forensics-gives-a-new-voice-to-illegally-hunted-wildlife

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Biology major worked with elephants in Thailand


Deanna Yates, a junior biology major, spent two weeks in Thailand during the summer helping animals and learning hands-on what it’s like to be a veterinarian. Traveling with study-abroad organization Loop Abroad, Yates was selected as part of a small team that volunteered giving care at a dog shelter and spent a week working directly with rescued elephants at an elephant sanctuary.

The Veterinary Service program brings students to Thailand for two weeks to volunteer alongside veterinarians from the U.S. and Thailand. Yates and her team volunteered at the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand to work hands-on with the giant animals and learn about animal rescue and conservation on a larger scale. The Elephant Nature Park is home to over 60 elephants who have been rescued from trekking, logging, or forced breeding programs. Many of them had been abused and suffer from chronic injuries or blindness.

Yates said, “My favorite part of Elephant Nature Park was acknowledging and understanding their hands-off approach with the elephants. Observing the elephants from a distance is a better experience than forcing the elephants to do things that they don’t want to do, such as the cruel treatment of elephant rides and pictures!”

For the other week, she volunteered at the Animal Rescue Kingdom dog shelter and helped to run Loop Abroad’s Dog Rescue Clinic in Chiang Mai, Thailand. By providing check-ups and cleanings, diagnosing and treating ear and eye problems, taking and testing blood, administering vaccines, cleaning and treating wounds, and helping with sterilization surgeries, the students were able to help support the health and well-being of these dogs.

By following a study abroad model instead of a voluntourism model, Loop focuses on educating its students so that they can contribute and serve in meaningful ways. Loop Abroad has animal science, marine biology, and veterinary programs for students and young adults in several countries and offers financial aid and fundraising help. Programs range from two weeks in summer to a full semester abroad, and college credit is available.

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http://www.charlestonsouthern.edu/news/biology-major-worked-with-elephants-in-thailand.php

Monday, October 15, 2018

ELEPHANTS LIKELY KILLED MAN IN KANCHANABURI SANCTUARY


A wild elephant apparently killed a man foraging for food in Kanchanaburi’s Sri Sawat district on Sunday night.

Kamonchai Chanthawong, 54, was found with a caved-in chest and broken legs and right arm among torn trees and elephant footprints at 8pm, a kilometre from Highway 3199 in Tambon Nong Ped.

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https://www.thailandnews.co/2018/10/elephants-likely-killed-man-in-kanchanaburi-sanctuary/

Wild Elephants Stomp Villager to Death in West Central Thailand


The man's skull was fractured and his legs broken. Elephants’ footprints were found nearby, and many of the trees in the area were damaged.

KANCHANABURI – Forest Rangers have reported that a herd of wild elephants have stomped a man to death while he was collecting forest products at Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary in Sri Sawat district of Nanchanaburi, Province.

When he did not return home that night, his family sought help from police to search for him in the forest, fearing he might be in trouble.

A team of police, soldiers, wildlife sanctuary officials and local residents began the search and found Mr Kamochai lying dead in the forest, about 1km away from Kanchanaburi-Sri Sawat Road, Pol Col Wanchai Onla-or, chief of Sri Sawat police station said on Monday.

Kamolchai’s skull was fractured and his legs broken. Elephants’ footprints were found nearby, and many of the trees in the area were damaged.

Authorities believed the man was stomped to death by a herd of wild elephants. According to wildlife sanctuary officials, the area is the habitat of about 30 wild jumbos.

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https://www.chiangraitimes.com/wild-elephants-trampel-villager-to-death-in-west-central-thailand.html

Friday, October 12, 2018

Thai domesticated elephants stolen from wild in Myanmar


Re: “Unlike PETA, Heinecke’s Minor International has made huge strides in elephant welfare”

, Have Your Say, yesterday.

It’s strange that Carine SteigerMaldaque would simultaneously praise Bill Heinecke and

attack Jason Baker of PETA. By agreeing that there should be no more elephant polo in

Thailand wasn’t Heinecke agreeing with Baker? He probably saw Baker’s video of one of

the elephants in the tournament being beaten.

It is also not true that all elephants in Thailand are domestic. Many are stolen from the

wild in Myanmar and then savagely tortured for days to break their spirit so they won’t

refuse to give rides. If Carine is not aware of that, then she shouldn’t be writing about a

subject she knows nothing about.

Eric Bahrt Chiang Mai

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https://www.pressreader.com/thailand/the-nation/20181012/281728385477218

Thursday, October 11, 2018

"Foreigners just don't understand elephants" says unrepentant and under fire zoo director


Jeez man people should get a life, nothing wrong with this and of course it brings in money to feed the elephants which Im sure is a massive amount.

Next we be saying the horse and pony wild west shows are cruel.

Who cares about the Daily mail anyway isn't the website banned in Thailand?

You get a life..what is accepted as "normal" behavior is certainly subjective. If you think that this is "normal", then go elsewhere.

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https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1061697-foreigners-just-dont-understand-elephants-says-unrepentant-and-under-fire-zoo-director/?page=3

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Park chief warns of randy elephants


The head of the Kaeng Krachan national park in Phetchaburi has warned the public to take care after a video showed an elephant in musth.

An elephant in musth is believed to have an up to six times rise in reproductive hormones.

They can become dangerous to their own kind as well as humans during this period that can last for many weeks.

The video showed a violent altercation between two elephants - one a bull elephant the other of unspecified gender - on the "Nong Plub - Huay Sat Yai" Road in the national park.

Mana Phermphoon warned the public to be on the lookout as his staff try to help the situation by isolating the animal.

Sometimes elephants in musth are denied food and water in an effort to calm them down. Many zookeepers have been killed and animals in the wild also present serious problems.

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https://news.thaivisa.com/article/26579/park-chief-warns-of-randy-elephants

Thailand lauded for war on ivory smugglers


Thailand has been praised for its achievement in tackling the illegal ivory trade as mandated by Cites, according to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP).

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) is an international agreement between governments that aims to monitor the trade of endangered species, and Thailand...

"This is good news. Thailand does not have to follow the National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) action plan anymore, but it does not mean that we will lower our guard," said Somkiat Soontornpitakkool, director...

According to Cites, Thailand -- along with China, Kenya, the Philippines and Uganda -- will no longer have to follow their national action plans because of their outstanding performances in dealing with...

NIAP is a measure that the Thai government pledged to execute in order to deal with the illegal trade of ivory. In 2016, Thailand and several other states were placed by Cites under the "Primary Concern"...

If Thailand failed to solve the problem, it faced the possibility of being delisted as a member of Cites, which may then have resulted in economic losses from diminished flora and fauna trade.

Since then, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has declared a war against poaching, which resulted in implementation of NIAP to crack down on the trade of illegal ivory.

The African elephant is listed as a protected species under the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act BE 2535, which provides a legal basis for prosecution.

Under NIAP, the government also requires owners of ivory items to register them with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Over 500,000 kilogrammes of ivory have been registered.

The National Council for Peace and Order has also ordered authorities to collect the DNA of all domesticated elephants to help ensure that none are killed for commercial purposes.

However, an informed official source told Bangkok Post that Cites is now concerned about tigers and other big cats being displayed in private zoos across Thailand, as there have been claims that tigers...

Last week, the DNP's Forest Hawk task force examined privately-owned zoos in Chon Buri, Phetchaburi and Ubon Ratchathani province and found no irregularities.

Based on DNP's figures, there are 1,464 tigers living in private zoos, while 182 tigers live in state-owned zoos.

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https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1550314/thailand-lauded-for-war-on-ivory-smugglers

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Elderly blind elephant enjoys classical piano concert

Lam Duan is well into her golden years and, despite no longer having her sight, still enjoys discovering the finer things in life.

On the banks of the River Kwai in Thailand, you will find Elephants World, a sanctuary that offers elephants respite from a life of abuse. Charity workers rehabilitate elephants, restoring some dignity to their lives.

There are many ways to improve the lives of animals when they are in the sanctuary and, not surprisingly, music therapy is one of these.

British pianist Paul Barton first discovered the mesmerising effect that classical music has on elephants when he witnessed the way an elephant named Pla-Ra froze and stared at him in awe when it first heard him play Beethoven.

Paul continued to play for elephants and most recently shared the private show that he played for an elderly blind elephant named Lam Duan.

Lam Duan, who has had a difficult life filled with hard labour, was immediately transported by the music of Bach.

Completely calm in the presence of Paul and his piano (which he had hauled up the mountain so he could be as close to the elephant as possible), Lam Duan begins to sway her trunk to the sound of the music, clearly enjoying it very much.

Though Lam Duan is blind, she is still able to recognise the beauty in moments like these.

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https://www.jacarandafm.com/shows/workzone-with-barney-simon/elderly-blind-elephant-enjoys-classical-piano-concert/

Young male elephant found shot dead in Kampung Karamuak Tongod, Kinabatangan



SANDAKAN: A third elephant has been found killed in Sabah within a span of eight days, and this time, the pachyderm was found shot dead at Kampung Karamuak, Tongod in Kinabatangan.

Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) Public Relations Officer Siti Nur’Ain Ampuan Acheh said a team of wildlife rangers from the Kinabatangan wildlife office stumbled upon the carcass at the road side at 7.40am yesterday while they were returning from elephant control work at Kampung Karamuak,

She said the male juvenile elephant was estimated to be between three to four years old and that a team was dispatched to the scene to investigate, including to carry out a post mortem to determine the cause of death.

A wound at the right rump of the elephant was found and this was then traced to the discovery of a pellet inside the abdomen, said Siti Nur’Ain in a statement today.

She said some parts of the intestines were torn and that there was severe internal bleeding inside the abdomen, suggesting several blood vessels were damaged.

She said the cause of death was determined to be hypovolemic shock due to severe internal bleeding caused by the pellet.

“From the position of the injury and the trajectory of the pellet, it is highly probable that the elephant was shot from close range from an elevated place or from the back of a vehicle,” she added.

Siti Nur’Ain said according to information gathered, a herd of elephants had been seen in Kampung Karamuak for the past one month.

She said the department would continue to probe the case and find those involved in the killing.

On July 19, a male elephant was found dead near an abandoned logging camp in Kuamut Forest Reserve in Kinabatangan, believed to be due to a fight with a larger elephant, leading to a severe crack on the left skull.

Prior to that, a male elephant with a badly wounded foot was found dead on July 16 in an oil palm plantation at Ulu Segama in Lahad Datu, believed to be the victim of a snare trap.

Elephants in Sabah are a Totally Protected species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997. — Bernama

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https://thailand-today.com/world-news/young-male-elephant-found-shot-dead-in-kampung-karamuak-tongod-kinabatangan/

Wild elephant found dead in Phetchabun

The Nam Nao National Park was alerted to the dead elephant near the road to Ban Huay Rahong village. Park officials and a veterinarian found that it was about 10 to 15 years old and weighed about two tonnes. The vet believed it died about three to four days earlier. A preliminary post-mortem said the elephant was poisoned because its tongue and liver were black. Samples from its stomach and food were sent for lab tests. The elephant was buried.

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https://www.aseanbreakingnews.com/2018/07/wild-elephant-found-dead-in-phetchabun/

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Wild Elephants Trample Motorcyclist to Death in Southern Thailand

YALA – A motorcyclist has been trampled to death by five elephants in Southern Thailand after being encircled by the wild animals. It is the latest deadly encounter in Thailand where the large mammals are both venerated and feared.

Masaree Samae, 40, was killed in the early morning attack in the country’s southernmost Yala province where many of Thailand’s rubber plantations are based.

Police chief Sathit Woonchoom said: “The victim was riding his motorbike on the way to tap rubber and was circled by five elephants.

“I conducted the autopsy with a doctor and found wounds on his back and head.”

The officer said he heard elephants rustling in nearby bushes when he arrived at the scene to investigate.

Thailand’s wild elephant population has dwindled to about 2,700 from a peak of 100,000 in 1850, according to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre.

Deforestation and loss of habitat has brought them into closer contact with humans in recent decades.

Villagers have also killed the elephants despite them being a protected species and they are also poached or domesticated for entertainment and tourism.

Thailand has come under criticism for its notorious elephant tourism trade.

The threatened animals are widely used in circus performances, to give rides, or in films and on TV.

In November last year an elephant that has starred in feature films and commercials crushed its owner to death in Chiang Mai.

Zoo officials said the animal was in musth – a state of high aggression among males when they experience hormonal surges – when the accident happened.

Elephant Attacks Motorcyclist at Khao Yai National Park (Thailand)

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https://www.chiangraitimes.com/wild-elephants-trample-motorcyclist-to-death-in-southern-thailand.html

Elephants cruelly forced to submerge underwater for new tourist display at Chonburi Zoo, Thailand



Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Chonburi Thailand are forcing their Elephants to swim under water as an entertainment display for paying tourists. This practice is extremely cruel to the Elephants as their trunks act as a snorkel when they are in water, but if they are fully submerged then they are at huge risk of drowning. This causes huge stress and trauma to the Elephants which could also jeporidse the safety of the public if they Elephants were to retaliate with aggression. The Elephants are prodded with bullhooks by mahouts (Elephant handlers) to make them swim fully under water so that tourists can view them from an underground window. Tourists bang on the windows and loudly shout, which adds to the stress.

Elephants are highly intelligent beings and show very similar emotions to Humans. This cruel treatment could have serious consequences to the mind and behaviour of these beautiful land mammals.

By signing this petition you will be showing this zoo that tourists do not support the cruel treatment of any animal. The cruelty can stop once the demand stops from tourists.

Thank you for standing up for what is right.

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https://www.thepetitionsite.com/676/588/153/elephants-cruelly-forced-to-submerge-underwater-for-new-touirst-display-at-chonburi-zoo-thailand/

A resident of Thailand died under the feet of wild elephants

A resident of the province Yala went to work in the fields, when he was surrounded by five elephants and began to trample on it.

On the body of a 40-year-old Thai, multiple injuries to the back and head were found. The policeman, who arrived at the scene, admitted that he heard the rustle of bushes, in which the animals remained.

According to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, the population of wild elephants has declined significantly: in 1850 there were about 100 thousand individuals, whereas currently there are only 2.7 thousand in Thailand. In the last few decades, these animals have been forced to change habitats closer to humans due to deforestation. This led to frequent clashes, especially with rural residents.

Despite the fact that wild elephants are protected by the state, they are often killed. They also become victims of poachers or violent domestication – cases when locals catch them for earnings on tourists.

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http://earth-chronicles.com/other/a-resident-of-thailand-died-under-the-feet-of-wild-elephants.html

Elephant demonstrates incredible bond with its carer as it rushes to his aid when she sees him 'fighting'... and even checks to see he is okay

This is the moment an elephant demonstrated an incredible bond with her carer by rushing to his aid when she saw him 'fighting' with another man.

Footage shows Thongsri, charging across her enclosure in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to protect her keeper - apparently believing him to be under attack.

When the 17-year-old elephant reached her carer, she circled him to make sure he was safe and then appeared to stoop down on to her knees to check he was okay.

In reality, the carer and another man had been pretending to brawl - possibly to demonstrate the animal's loyalty.

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5908943/Elephant-rushes-carers-aid-sees-fighting.html

WILD ELEPHANT KILLS BURI RAM CHILLI FARMER

A wild elephant killed a 38-year-old woman on her chilli farm in Buri Ram’s Lahan Sai district on Friday morning, though her husband managed to flee.

The incident prompted Tambon Nong Wang mayor Somwang Tonram to warn residents to stay clear of forests at night time when elephants are hunting for food.

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https://www.thailandnews.co/2018/07/wild-elephant-kills-buri-ram-chilli-farmer/

Five wild elephants trample Thai man to death

A Thai man was trampled to death by five wild elephants near a rubber plantation Friday, police said, the latest deadly encounter in a country where pachyderms are both venerated and feared.

Masaree Samae, 40, was killed in the early morning attack in southern Yala province, home to many of Thailand's sprawling rubber plantations.

"The victim was riding his motorbike on the way to tap rubber... and was circled by five elephants," police captain Sathit Woonchoom told AFP by phone.

"I conducted the autopsy with a doctor and found wounds on his back and head," Sathit said.

The officer said he heard elephants rustling in the bushes near when he arrived at the scene to investigate.

Thailand's wild elephant population has dwindled to about 2,700 from a peak of 100,000 in 1850, according to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre.

Deforestation and habitat loss has brought them in closer contact with humans in recent decades, and they often clash with villagers -- sometimes killing them.

Villagers have also killed the elephants despite them being a protected species.

Elephants are also poached or domesticated for entertainment and tourism.

Thailand has come under fire for its notorious elephant tourism trade and the threatened animals are widely used in circus performances, to give rides, or in films and on TV.

In November last year a five-tonne elephant that has starred in feature films and commercials crushed its owner to death in Chiang Mai.

The animal was in musth -- a state of high aggression among males accompanied by a hormonal surge -- when the accident happened, zoo officials said.

Two wild elephants were killed earlier this year by a pineapple farm worker who set up an electric fence set up to kill the creatures.

He was charged with poaching but quickly released on bail.

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:
http://www.richmond-news.com/news/asia-pacific-news/five-wild-elephants-trample-thai-man-to-death-1.23353132

Friday, July 20, 2018

Wild elephant kills Buri Ram chilli farmer



A wild elephant killed a 38-year-old woman on her chilli farm in Buri Ram’s Lahan Sai district on Friday morning, though her husband managed to flee.

The incident prompted Tambon Nong Wang mayor Somwang Tonram to warn residents to stay clear of forests at night time when elephants are hunting for food.


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https://www.thailandnews.co/2018/07/wild-elephant-kills-buri-ram-chilli-farmer/

Former Radnor resident discovers a passion to save elephants in Thailand



Flora Sherry credits childhood trips, including a visit to Nepal while in high school, with fueling her wanderlust.

The 2002 Radnor High School graduate is now an expat based in Thailand, where she is teaching English and volunteering at Elephant Nature Park, a reserve for rescued elephants, every chance she gets.

“My family also instilled the love to travel and exploring other cultures,” Sherry said.

A brother, Keating Sherry, was working in China and suggested that Sherry apply for a job there. In 2014 she was hired to teach English to children from three to 18 in Shenzhen near Hong Kong.

From there she vacationed in northern Thailand, “and I fell in love with an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai,” Sherry said. “And it’s a place where they rescue elephants and all types of animals.” She decided to move to Thailand. Back in China she saw a posting for a volunteer teacher in a village in Thailand and applied for it. That led to a job at an international school in Chiang Mai. She will be starting a new job at a bilingual school in that town in August. Sherry is certified in elementary and special education and also in teaching English as a foreign language. she holds an undergraduate degree from Eastern University and took master’s courses at Cabrini University to do her student teaching.

“I really enjoy teaching,” said Sherry. “I find that children are children, no matter where you go. I love working with kids, getting them to explore and learn new things. Teaching opens the window where I can live in the world. It gives me a lot of opportunities.”

“I think that people always say that it’s adventurous (to live overseas),” said Sherry. “For me it’s just figuring out what I want to do. I don’t consider myself to be brave. I just wanted to live abroad.”

“The food is great. There’s curries and noddle dishes there’s plenty of noodle dishes,” she said about Thailand. “Anything you want, you can find it in Chiang Mai.” Western dishes are also available.

“You always have to be careful (about contamination) but for the most part it’s pretty safe in the main cities,” she said. “I get smoothies and I don’t worry about ice at all. You can’t drink the water there but you can brush your teeth with the water.”


To read the full article, click on the story title.

Five wild elephants trample Thai man to death



A Thai man was trampled to death by five wild elephants near a rubber plantation Friday, police said, the latest deadly encounter in a country where pachyderms are both venerated and feared.


Masaree Samae, 40, was killed in the early morning attack in southern Yala province, home to many of Thailand's sprawling rubber plantations.

"The victim was riding his motorbike on the way to tap rubber... and was circled by five elephants," police captain Sathit Woonchoom told AFP by phone.


"I conducted the autopsy with a doctor and found wounds on his back and head," Sathit said.

The officer said he heard elephants rustling in the bushes near when he arrived at the scene to investigate.

Thailand's wild elephant population has dwindled to about 2,700 from a peak of 100,000 in 1850, according to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre.

Deforestation and habitat loss has brought them in closer contact with humans in recent decades, and they often clash with villagers -- sometimes killing them.

Villagers have also killed the elephants despite them being a protected species.

Elephants are also poached or domesticated for entertainment and tourism.

Thailand has come under fire for its notorious elephant tourism trade and the threatened animals are widely used in circus performances, to give rides, or in films and on TV.

In November last year a five-tonne elephant that has starred in feature films and commercials crushed its owner to death in Chiang Mai.

The animal was in musth -- a state of high aggression among males accompanied by a hormonal surge -- when the accident happened, zoo officials said.

Two wild elephants were killed earlier this year by a pineapple farm worker who set up an electric fence set up to kill the creatures.

He was charged with poaching but quickly released on bail.


Please credit and share this article with others using this link:
http://www.richmond-news.com/news/asia-pacific-news/five-wild-elephants-trample-thai-man-to-death-1.23353132




Saturday, June 30, 2018

Trunk and disorderly: Elephant SMASHES tourist to the ground when he tries to touch it



This is the moment a tourist in Thailand got a mammoth surprise when he reached out to touch an elephant and it smashed him to the ground.

In the clip, Cody Stiner can be seen offering the animal a leaf and attempting to pet it. Seconds later, the elephant's tusk sends him flying into the dust.

The man landed on a pile of coconuts but was somehow uninjured.

Stiner was reportedly afraid the elephant was going to step on him and quickly got up and left after the terrifying encounter.

Despite their huge size, elephants are known to be gentle giants. But if agitated they can be aggressive and occasionally experience bouts of rage.

According to the National Geographic Channel documentary 'Elephant Rage', around 500 people are killed by elephant attacks each year.


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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5897205/Trunk-disorderly-Elephant-SMASHES-tourist-ground-tries-touch-it.html





Elephants kick-off anti-gambling campaign



AYUTTHAYA/BANGKOK (Reuters) – Elephants kicked off World Cup fever in Thailand’s ancient capital of Ayutthaya on Tuesday, playing a soccer match to raise awareness against illegal gambling.

Nine elephants, painted with the flags of countries competing in this year’s World Cup in Russia, passed the ball to each other and swerved around the field in a 15-minute match against students from a local school.

Organisers said they wanted to show students the World Cup was more about enjoying the sport than betting on teams.

“They’re here to bring color and joy, and create awareness that we can enjoy the World Cup without gambling and just cheer the soccer players,” said Reangthongbaht Meephan, deputy chief of the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal.

Illegal gambling on the World Cup is prevalent in countries like Thailand and Malaysia, where football is hugely popular, but which don’t have legal betting alternatives.


To read the full article, click on the story title.

Disaster assistance for tambon plundered by wild elephants



KANCHANABURI: An area in Thong Pha Phum district has finally been declared a disaster zone after being pillaged for the last month by wild elephants, with residents too scared to work in their raided fields.

Provincial governor Jeetakiat Phumsawad on Wednesday declared tambon Tha Khanoon a disaster zone, 29 days after a man was injured in one of the first of the series of raids on May 16.


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https://www.thailandnews.co/2018/06/disaster-assistance-for-tambon-plundered-by-wild-elephants/




Wayward elephant captured after months-long hunt




Sidor Daeng, a roguish 15-year-old male wild elephant weighing in at a hefty 7 seven tonnes, who has been recaptured in Chanthaburi and returned to his forest home in Sa Kaeo. Thailand's most wanted elephant has been recaptured after months of wandering, raiding crops and killing at least one person, and returned to the detention centre he fled from - for further attitude adjustment.


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http://www.topix.com/th/chanthaburi/2018/06/wayward-elephant-captured-after-months-long-hunt?fromrss=1

Poachers feed China trade, threaten country’s elephants



Following a tip-off by villagers in early May, U Sai Nyi Nyi rushed to the forest in Kyauk Gyi village in Thabeikkyin township of Mandalay Region and found the remains of a dead female elephant. Her tusks and trunk had been cut off and her skin peeled off the right side of her body.

Elephant poachers hastily left when the villagers arrived. Such activity has become common in Thabeikkyin, where poachers in groups of five or more, impersonating wood cutters and armed with guns, enter the forest in search of prey.

“They usually stay in the jungle for many days,” U Sai Nyi Nyi, a member of the township wildlife conservation team, said. Her group has been raising awareness among villagers near the forest to help them protect wildlife from poachers.

He said the poachers first drive the elephants into a desired location and then shoot them with poisoned arrows or guns. Then they follow the wounded elephant till it falls dead, which may take two or more days.



The elephants, sensing danger, go near the villages, as poachers tend to avoid shooting them near populated areas. Wild elephants sometimes enter the fields near the villages apparently to seek refuge, U Sai Nyi Nyi said.

Demand for elephant skin has rapidly risen since last year, according to a study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Myanmar. Many Chinese still believe that elephant skin can cure skin diseases and gastritis. It is also used in making jewellery. The increasing demand from China for elephant parts has led to the killing of more elephants in Myanmar.


 To read the full article, click on the story title.

Wild elephant found dead on roadside




A wild elephant was found dead on a roadside in Chachoengsao on Wednesday morning and national parks officials were trying to figure out what killed it. You Senatham, director of the Wildlife Conservation Office Area 2 said the dead male elephant was about 15 years old and was found on the side of Road 4022 in Sanam Chai Khet district.


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https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1489098/wild-elephant-found-dead-on-roadside

Thai elephant camp is pioneering elephant-friendly tourism in Thailand



Happy Elephant Care Valley, in Chiang Mai, Thailand is about to embark on a landmark agreement to become a truly elephant-friendly venue. This move will end all physical interaction between tourists and elephants at the camp, to meet the growing demand for responsible elephant experiences.

The transformation of the venue was initiated by animal welfare charity, World Animal Protection as part of a coalition of leaders in the travel industry, including TUI Group, The Travel Corporation (TTC), Intrepid Group, G Adventures, EXO Travel, Thomas Cook Group, and others.

Thousands of captive elephants in many venues across Thailand still give rides that are the result of a cruel and intensive training process. However, a 2017 KANTAR global poll shows a significant drop of 9% (to 44%) in the number of people who find elephant riding acceptable compared to just three years ago. The poll also shows that more than 80% of tourists would prefer to see elephants in their natural environment, proving elephant-friendly tourism is on the rise.

The elephants at Happy Elephant Care Valley were previously from farms and riding camps. Until recently it was possible for close interaction between tourists and the elephants at the venue, with tourists being able to ride, bathe and feed elephants. This stopped when the travel industry coalition presented a business case demonstrating the rise of elephant-friendly tourism.

The transition will see the elephants able to behave as they would in the wild; free to roam the valley, graze and bathe in rivers as tourists experience these wonders, standing at a safe distance.


To read the full article, click on the story title.

Elephant ‘electrocuted’ in Chachoengsao



CHACHOENGSAO, 21st June 2018 (NNT) – A wild elephant was found dead beside a road in Chachoengsao's Sanam Chaikhet district. Electrocution was suspected to be the cause of its death.

The male elephant, believed to be about 15 years old, was found lying dead on the road at the entrance to a villager's house that was cordoned off with barbed wire connected to a car battery.

A group of local administration officials, forest rangers, and police were dispatched to investigate the scene.

Villagers claimed that they protected their tapioca plantations by barricading them with barbed wires and connected them with car batteries to prevent wild animals from getting into their farms.

They claimed that the electrical power from the car batteries did not kill elephants, but merely scared them off.


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https://www.thailandnews.co/2018/06/elephant-electrocuted-in-chachoengsao/

MSU student travels to Thailand to work with elephants



This summer, Katherine Bederka, 20, of Northville spent two weeks in Thailand helping animals and learning hands-on what it’s like to be a veterinarian. Traveling with study-abroad organization Loop Abroad, Bederka was selected as part of a small team that volunteered giving care at a dog shelter and spent a week working directly with rescued elephants at an elephant sanctuary.

The veterinary service program brings students to Thailand for two weeks to volunteer alongside veterinarians from the U.S. and Thailand. For one week, Bederka and her team volunteered at the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand to work hands-on with the giant animals and learn about animal rescue and conservation on a larger scale. The Elephant Nature Park is home to more than 60 elephants who have been rescued from trekking, logging or forced breeding programs. Many of them had been abused and suffer from chronic injuries or blindness. At the Elephant Nature Park, they are cared for by volunteers from all over the world. Bederka helped to feed and care for elephants, as well as learn about their diagnoses alongside an elephant vet. The Elephant Nature Park is also home to more than 1,000 other animals, including cats, dogs, water buffalo, horses and cows and is sustained in huge part by the work of weekly volunteers.

For the other week, Bederka volunteered at the Animal Rescue Kingdom dog shelter and helped to run Loop Abroad’s Dog Rescue Clinic in Chiang Mai, Thailand. These shelters are home to more than 200 dogs who have been rescued after being abandoned, beaten or abused. While the dogs can be adopted, any who aren’t will be cared for by the shelters for their whole lives.

While she studied under the veterinarians leading her group, Bederka and her team made a difference in the lives of these dogs. By providing check-ups and cleanings, diagnosing and treating ear and eye problems, taking and testing blood, administering vaccines, cleaning and treating wounds and helping with sterilization surgeries, the students were able to help support the health and well-being of these dogs.


To read the full article, click on the story title.




Waikato graduate to serenade rescued elephants in Thailand



During lullaby time at a Thailand sanctuary, Niamh Lovelock remembers elephants galumphing over from all corners to listen.

The rescued elephants would fall asleep at the feet of the singer, Lek, who founded Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, where Lovelock volunteered for a week.

Soon, Lovelock will be serenading elephants herself.

Later this year, the 22-year-old will head to Thailand where she's landed her dream role as a volunteer and education programme manager at Kwan Jai Elephant Foundation, founded by Viv and Jack Lanting.

Mistreated elephants will be rescued from places such as riding camps, circuses, street begging and the illegal logging industry.

And singing to them will be a part of their rehabilitation, Lovelock said.

"In any situation where they're answering to human command basically, they go through some sort of intensive training which is quite harmful to them mentally and physically. So they come to us with a lot of mental trauma.

"When we actually rescue them and take them from wherever they come from, we'll have them on the truck and I'll be on the truck singing to them and trying to calm them down and show them that we're not there to hurt them."

She's never sung to elephants, but has practiced on her rescue cat Pizza.

"I remember driving home with her and she was freaking out being in the car and I would start singing to her and she would sort of stop meowing and calm down a bit.

She reckons they will respond best to slow, low, soothing songs and classical music, like Mozart, although she'll also try some Irish folk songs and Māori music to honour her Irish and New Zealand roots.

Lovelock, who specialises in classical singing, completed her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Music at the University of Waikato in 2016.

She hadn't expected use her music degree this way, initially planning on a performance career.

But combining two life-long loves - singing and elephants, seems perfect.

Lovelock has always been drawn to elephants and even sports a tattoo of one on her back.





Please credit and share this article with others using this link:
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/104888395/waikato-graduate-to-serenade-rescued-elephants-in-thailand


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Don Village struggles to keep elephants for tourism



Y Nha, 37, is facing difficulties finding foods for his elephant which is working in the tourism services at Don Village Tourist Site in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

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https://www.vietnamup.com/2018/06/don-village-struggles-to-keep-elephants-for-tourism/

Thailand’s most wanted elephant captured after months-long hunt



Park authorities and Sidor Daeng, the 15-year-old bull elephant, have played hide-and-seek since early January, when he wandered away from Khao Takrup, a forest area in Wang Nam Yen district of Sa Kaeo used as a detention centre for “problematic” wild animals. It is part of the Khao Ang Ru Nai Wildlife Sanctuary.

Sidor Daeng roamed the eastern region, raiding fruit orchards and crop fields and killing one person who got in his way.

Park officials described him as smart but moody, and ready to attack anyone who disturbs him. That made Sidor Daeng both difficult to find, and dangerous, they added.

After leaving the detention forest the elephant has attacked a motorcyclist in a rubber plantation in Na Yai Am district of Chanthaburi in January, killing the mother who was driving and seriously injuring her son, who was riding pillion.

Farmers in Sa Kaeo, Chanthaburi and Trat lived in fear after the return of Sidor Daeng. Many orchards in these provinces were damaged, and he was blamed.

“It’s back!! Plai Sidor Daeng comes down from Khao Soi Dao to raid Sa Kaeo,” screamed a headline on Matichon online on Jan 8. Plai means a male elephant in Thai.

Sidor Daeng was believed to have crossed the border to into Cambodia that month and later returned to Thailand. Most recently, he had been seen in the forest around Chanthaburi.

Park officials, local officials, soldiers and volunteers, about 100 in total, searched and searched for him and finally found the elephant at Ban Tabok Pia in Makham district at 8:30pm yesterday (June 14).

Five tranquilliser darts fired from guns were needed to sedate him, and a large backhoe from the Chanthaburi Provincial Administration Organisation (OrBorJor) to lift the seven-tonne elephant onto a 10-wheel truck. He was then returned to Khao Takrub.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

He's VERY attached! Baby elephant uses his mouth, trunk and full body weight to prevent tourist leaving after she petted him



This is the adorable moment a baby elephant won't let go of a tourist after she became acquainted with him before taking an elephant ride with his mother.

The cute footage was taken in the northern jungle of Thailand in early March and shows American tourist Jane Hight McMurry cuddling a baby elephant as they both lie together on the ground.

McMurry, a professional speaker and author, traveled to Phetchabun in the northern province for a day long adventure and to ride bareback on an elephant.

The footage begins as the baby elephant is resting his head in McMurry's lap as she pets him. She then tries to move away but the elephant, seemingly not finished with the attention, wraps his trunk around her leg.

He then playfully bites her foot and holds it in his mouth as she tumbles backwards trying to get away. The playful calf then climbs on top of her and wraps his tusk around her neck as she asks her group, who struggle to contain their giggles, 'what do I do?'

McMurry, who presents keynotes and seminars on leadership skills that maximize sales and workplace productivity, said: 'The elephant chosen for me was a new mother. It was important for me to get to know her calf before we began.

'As you can see, we got to know each other.'

The northern jungle in Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations for those who want to spot wild elephants roaming in their natural habitat.



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Injured wild elephant found in Udon Thani



UDON THANI, 27th May 2018 (NNT) - Park rangers and veterinarians have found an injured one-tusked elephant spotted at Phuwua Wildlife Sanctuary in Udon Thani province.

The elephant was found to be suffering from serious hind leg injuries. Observation cameras show the creature has been walking on its front legs and has had difficulty foraging for food. The veterinary team has given the jumbo tranquilizers followed by an intravenous drip, and pain and infection relief medications. The treatment took about an hour.

The veterinary team says the wounds on the elephant's tail and right knee are the most worrying, adding the wounded tail could affect its pelvis. The medications given to the seven-ton jumbo will take effect for as long as two weeks. Phuwua Wildlife Sancturay officials will observe its recovery process following the treatment procedure.


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Kanchanaburi villager killed by wild elephant


A volunteer helping park officials prevent a herd of wild elephants from invading a village in Kanchanaburi’s Thong Pha Phum district on Sunday evening was fatally kicked by a panicked elephant cow with child.

Thammasilp Ratananuphappoj, 54, a resident of Ban Pha An in Tambon Tha Khanoon, was pronounced dead at Thong Pha Phum Hospital.

Thong Pha Phum National Park officials told police they and local people were trying to block about 30 elephants from entering the village.

They said a female elephant with an infant became frightened and rushed at Thammasil, kicking him once, hard enough to hurl him five metres.

The elephants were herded back into the forest and the injured man was taken to hospital, too late to save him.


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 http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30346425

Three elephants from the Thai nature reserve were disguised as pandas



Employees from elephant reserve in southern Thailand in the exhibition "1600 pandas" repainted three elephants in black and white colors such a way that they resemble pandas, according to "People's Daily Online".

The elephants were hand-painted: the legs, trunks and eyes of the animals were painted in black, and the trunks and heads - in white. For this, acrylic paint was used. Employee of the reserve said that the exhibition was only one day, and the elephants disguised as pandas spended there only for a couple of hours. Due to the characteristics of the elephant skin, the paint did not harm the animals.
Users of social networks reacted differently to the idea of employees of the reserve. On the one hand, they were accused of having deprived elephants of natural uniqueness. On the other hand, they expressed the opinion that elephants, like pandas, belong to endangered species of animals, and also deserve attention.

The exhibition "1600 pandas" was held on the territory of the elephant reserve and was devoted to the problem of the disappearance of pandas. Today, only 1600 animals live in the wild.

The idea of ?he exhibition belongs to the French artist Paulo Grangeon, who, in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, decided to show what cities would look like if only pandas lived in them. For this he made 1600 animals from papier-mache. Since 2008, the artist visited with his exhibition such cities as: Paris, Rome, Berlin, Beijing, Hong Kong.


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Thai elephant camp is pioneering elephant-friendly tourism in Thailand


TORONTO: Happy Elephant Care Valley, in Chiang Mai, Thailand is about to embark on a landmark agreement to become a truly elephant-friendly venue. This move will end all physical interaction between tourists and elephants at the camp, to meet the growing demand for responsible elephant experiences.
The transformation of the venue was initiated by animal welfare charity, World Animal Protection as part of a coalition of leaders in the travel industry, including TUI Group, The Travel Corporation (TTC), Intrepid Group, G Adventures, EXO Travel, Thomas Cook Group, and others.

Thousands of captive elephants in many venues across Thailand still give rides that are the result of a cruel and intensive training process. However, a 2017 KANTAR global poll shows a significant drop of 9% (to 44%) in the number of people who find elephant riding acceptable compared to just three years ago. The poll also shows that more than 80% of tourists would prefer to see elephants in their natural environment, proving elephant-friendly tourism is on the rise.

The elephants at Happy Elephant Care Valley were previously from farms and riding camps. Until recently it was possible for close interaction between tourists and the elephants at the venue, with tourists being able to ride, bathe and feed elephants. This stopped when the travel industry coalition presented a business case demonstrating the rise of elephant-friendly tourism.



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The sanctuary saving Thailand's disappearing elephants: #WorldEnvironmentDay



Beyond the amazing food, glittering temples and famously friendly culture, the country has yet another precious commodity: its elephants.
And at Elephant Nature Park, an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in the Chiang Mai countryside, you'll be surrounded by them.
A dwindling population

Thailand has long been home to these beautiful beasts, but experts estimate the elephant population has dwindled to 3,000-4,000 (down from 100,000) over the past century.

The decline is mostly due to threats from tourism, logging, poaching and human encroachment on elephant habitats. While the majority of Thailand's remaining elephants are living in the wild inside National Parks Reserves, roughly 10% continue to suffer in terrible conditions.

That's where Elephant Nature Park comes in.

Located about 37 miles (60 kilometers) from Chiang Mai, the park has rescued more than 200 elephants from the tourism and logging industries since its inception in the 1990s.

"You know many tourists who have seen elephants in Thailand, they want to come and ride them," Sangdeaun "Lek" Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park, tells CNN. "But I think it's very important to come here and care for elephants, rather than use the animals for entertainment."

A walk in the park

At the Elephant Nature Park, volunteers and visitors have an opportunity to interact with more than 70 elephants across the 250-acre grounds.

Instead of potentially harmful activities, such as rides, volunteers can participate in a variety of experiences, from bathing and feeding elephants, to following them on jungle treks.

During half-day or overnight visits, travelers might meet Dok Geaw -- a baby elephant just born in May 2017 -- as well as Tilly, who was rescued from a trekking camp, and Sook Jai, who was once a street beggar in the city.

The park also offers seven-day volunteer experiences.

It's not just elephants. The sanctuary also rescues dogs, cats, birds and buffaloes.

"Elephants teach me a lot," says Sangdeaun. "They have this love that humans.


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 https://en.mogaznews.com/World-News/924731/The-sanctuary-saving-Thailands-disappearing-elephants---WorldEnvironmentDay.html

Villagers wilting under elephant invasion want assistance




KANCHANABURI: Local officials want a tambon that borders on heavily forested mountains declared a disaster area because of the frequent raids by wild elephants. Villagers in tambon Tha Khanoon of Thong Pha Phum district are suffering from the depredations of a herd of at least 50 elephants that has been raiding their crops.


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“Disaster zone” proposed for areas attacked by wild elephants



Villagers from Thong Pha Phum district of Kanchanaburi province have proposed that areas prone to attacks by wild elephants be declared a disaster zone.

The villagers made this proposal during a meeting to lay down measures to cope with the problem of wild elephants invading villages and plantations in Thong Pha Phum district.

The meeting, chaired by deputy governor Anan Nakniyom, passed a resolution for the proposal to be forwarded to the provincial governor to declare areas frequently attacked by wild elephants a disaster zone.

With the declaration of the disaster zone, it would be easier for officials concerned to seek budgets to help people affected by the wild elephant attacks .

The proposal was made after about 40-50 wild elephants from the Thong Pha Phum National Park invaded villages and plantations in Thong Pha Phum district, particularly in Tambon Tha Khanoon, to forage for food. A unit of defence volunteers has been set up to drive away the elephants. In a recent operation, one of the volunteers was killed and one seriouisly injured by the elephants.

The defence volunteers, with support from officials from the Thong Pha Phum National Park, local administrations, police and military personnel, have conducted patrols for past one month, but they have not been successful in driving away the wild elephants.


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Kumki 2 based on boy-elephant bond



While Madhiyazhagan is the lead protagonist, the heroine is yet to be finalised. RJ Balaji and Susan are also part of the cast.

Kumki, the debut film of Vikram Prabhu in Prabhu Solomon’s direction released in 2012, was a sleeper hit which was also applauded for its making style and music. After six years, Solomon is gearing up with Kumki 2. However, he says that he has retained only the title because the film has an elephant in the central character.

“The film is not a sequel to Kumki. There’s no connection between the two stories. The movie is about the bond shared between a baby elephant and a small boy and how they grow up together and the incidents that take place narrated in a realistic manner,” reveals the filmmaker.

While Madhiyazhagan is the lead protagonist, the heroine is yet to be finalised. RJ Balaji and Susan are also part of the cast. Unnikrishnan is the name of the elephant, which plays the titular role.

“We did extensive search in India, Burma, Thailand and Sri Lanka for the baby elephant. There were problems getting permission as well. Finally, we zeroed in on a baby elephant in Thailand, which was cooperating with us. We completed two schedules in Thailand quickly”, Solomon adds.

This time around instead of his regular composer Imman, the director has opted for Nivas Prasanna for music.


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https://www.deccanchronicle.com/entertainment/kollywood/130618/kumki-2-based-on-boy-elephant-bond.html









Elephants join police, psychiatrists to kick football gambling into touch



THAI YOUTHS deemed vulnerable to football gambling are under the spotlight as the month-long 2018 Fifa World Cup prepares to kick off in Russia tomorrow.

The Mental Health Department yesterday announced a gambling rehabilitation hotline 1323 and a Facebook page – @GamblingCounseling1323 – to offer counselling services from June 14 onwards, while 19 hospitals will open their doors to give further aid.

The moves are in parallel to a police vow yesterday to crack down on football gambling bookies and debt-collecting violence, block 1,000 gambling websites and probe 1,000 celebrity promoters.

Even elephants in Ayutthaya clambered aboard the bandwagon yesterday, displaying their football skills as part of an anti-gambling campaign.

Mental Health Department director general Dr Boonreung Traireungworarat yesterday led a Pathum Thani training workshop for 60 psychiatric hospital workers on how to aid gambling addicts’ rehabilitation.

Boonreung said Thai children and youths were most vulnerable to football betting amid the World Cup hype being boosted by the Internet era where anyone could gain access to all kinds of websites.

A 2015 survey found 53 per cent of kids had accessed gambling websites and become vulnerable to addiction since their brain’s frontal lobe, responsible for reasoning and self-restraint, wasn’t yet fully developed. Youths’ gambling addiction could lead to social issues such as theft, prostitution, or even depression and suicide. Hence the hotline 1323 would provide advice around the clock, the Facebook page would offer free counselling from 2.30pm to 10.30pm during the tournament and 19 hospital clinics would be on hand to aid those attempting to kick their gambling addiction, Boonreung said.



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Saturday, June 09, 2018

Money, traditional beliefs fuel wildlife trade in Thailand



Affluence, a strong business network, and cultural beliefs are significant catalysts behind a burgeoning wildlife trade in Thailand, a recent consumer research report claimed.

Around two percent of the Thai population own or use ivory parts or products, and one percent own or use tiger parts or products. Nearly 90 percent of ivory consumers and 82 percent of tiger consumers feel buying these products is socially acceptable, according to the report commissioned by the US Agency for International Development Wildlife Asia (USAID).

The researchers from Chulalongkorn University and Ipsos, a market research organization, interviewed nearly 1,000 respondents to understand people’s perceptions and beliefs regarding ivory and tiger parts. A large number of them believe that ivory protects the owner, helps in overcoming obstacles, creates goodwill and enhances one’s appearance. Similarly, tiger parts and products are perceived to improve charisma, bring good fortune and provide protection from evil or harm.

Responses from the consumers also revealed that sacred images, small carvings and amulets are the most popular ivory and tiger items purchased. Ivory accessories and jewelry, because they are beautiful and attractive, remain popular with female consumers. Meanwhile, male consumers prefer to buy tiger parts.


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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Major travel agents have promised to crack down on animal cruelty. But new evidence shows otherwise.



Some of the biggest holiday companies – including Tui and Expedia – have previously made pledges to protect animal welfare. But Which? has published research showing that this is far from the case.
Lip service

In 2013, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) released a handbook [pdf] titled ‘Global Guidance for Animals in Tourism’. Travel agent Thomas Cook helped to develop these animal welfare guidelines. It claims to be an “industry leader in animal welfare”, and has stopped “selling elephant rides or shows in any of its markets”.

Yet despite the ban, tourists on Thomas Cook holidays are still riding elephants. Which? highlights:


Other industry giant[s], including Trailfinders, Virgin Holidays and Expedia, also vowed to take a tougher stance on animal welfare. But nine out of ten companies we investigated were still selling tickets to facilities where animals are reportedly kept in poor conditions, or are forced to perform for entertainment.
A widespread issue

Back in 2015, travel company Tui signed a pledge to stop selling tickets to abusive elephant rides and shows. It said:


Elephant rides and elephant shows are stressful for the animals and harm their wellbeing.


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Wildlife tourism in Thailand is like visiting 'house of horrors' says Leamington photojournalist



WILDLIFE tourism in Thailand is like ‘visiting a house of horrors’ says a photojournalist from Leamington.

Aaron Gekoski has been documenting the plight of animals around the world for some years – from the habit destruction caused by the palm oil industry in Borneo, to shark finning in Mozambique and seal culling in Nambia.

Now the 37-year-old has turned his attention to Thailand where he says more than half a million animals are taken from the wild to a life of squalor and abuse in the form of neglectful zoos, elephant-back safaris, monkey theatres, dolphin shows and more.

He said: “Their spirits are broken by handlers, who beat them into submissive states – elephants, for example, go through ‘the crush’ – a form of torture designed to break their spirits. They then live the rest of their lives in unsuitable habitats and are abused and mistreated on a daily basis.

“What I saw was truly shocking – orangutans forced to box each other in humiliating routines, elephants which appeared so drugged they could barely walk, monkeys yanked around on chains and made to ride bikes, a gorilla living in a filthy cell at the top of a shopping mall.

“There’s zero justification for this – it’s all about maximising profits. The fact they’re allowed to operate legally is astounding.

“There must be a crackdown on these abusive operators.”

Aaron – whose adventures began with a film course in South Africa’s Kruger National Park – has made a series of short films which has captured the attention of authorities in Thailand. The series shows animals being force-fed, dressed up in clothes, stuck in tiny cages and being struck for bad behaviour.


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Speaker-equipped drone helps drive away wild elephants



The test at the Phu Sai-Sai En area and some farmland around Anant School in Tambon Huai Sat Yai of Hua Hin yielded a satisfactory result. The team, led by lecturer Suwat Techapetchpaiboon, plans to propose to the university council to allow real use of such speaker-equipped drones under the supervision of park officials, Mana said.



This might be useful in preventing elephants from disturbing roads and farmlands as some elephants had been spotted on roads in Hua Hin lately, Mana said.



Mana had earlier advised motorists on the Hua Hin-La Au Road in Tambon Huai Sat Yai to beware of a seven-strong herd of wild elephants roaming the area during late afternoon to evening. There was also another herd of nine elephants (four old ones, three young adults and two babies) found roaming the road’s 15-kilometre marker area last week.


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Friday, May 11, 2018

8 wild tuskers stranded at Kondalogam



Srikakulam: A herd of eight wild elephants are stranded at Kondalogam forest area in Palasa mandal on Monday. The elephants are not moving the way showed by the trained elephants Jayanthi and Ganesh, which were brought from Kuppam forest area in Chittoor district in March.

The wild tuskers are stranded at Kondalogam forest in Palasa mandal. The forest officials alerted the locals as with public announcement system explaining them not to provoke the wild tuskers and not to move out alone in the evenings.

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Four More Elephants Killed by Indian Train. Stop the 'Massacre of Elephants' Now!



A massacre of elephants" -- That's what Dr. Biswajit Mohanty, a former member of the National Board of Wildlife, called the train collision in India that occurred earlier this month.



Four elephants, including a big tusker and a calf were killed when a train crashed into the heard that was attempting to cross the rails.


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To save Elephants’ lives, Indian Railways to impose Speed Restrictions



NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has imposed speed restrictions of 30kmph to 50kmph along several stretches of tracks in the Northeast to treat a jumbo-sized problem — speeding trains crashing into elephants.

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), which controls tracks in areas having the densest elephant population between Siliguri in West Bengal to deep inside eastern Assam, has identified stretches with a combined length of 207km where trains will slow down, according to officials familiar with the developments.

Railway data shows that 70 elephants have died after being hit by trains since 2013. NFR and the forest department records say train-hits killed 16 elephants in 2016, and at least a dozen last year. Four elephants were killed when a passenger train hit a herd crossing the tracks in central Assam this February, the worst tragedy after five elephants, including a pregnant female, died in similar circumstances last December.

The slowdown means trains will be delayed by 30 minutes to two hours in the region.

A train moving through the entire length of a restricted corridor would be delayed by three hours, but the delays will be less as alternative routes have been chosen, a railway official familiar with the plan said.

“It has been decided that signboards will be out up at all identified elephant corridors to warn train drivers,” said Pranav Jyoti Sharma, the NFR spokesperson.

The stretches where trains will slow down include 62 identified elephant corridors. Elephants are migratory by nature and move from one forest to another for food through these corridors, but trains hurtling down tracks that cut through natural habitat have become a rising threat for them.

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Alarming rise in deaths of people, elephants in human-animal conflict in Odisha



BHUBANESWAR: The ever-increasing deaths of elephants as well as people in human-animal conflicts in Odisha has alarmed environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts who blame the state Forest Department's "callous approach" for the problem and have sought an urgent action plan to prevent loss of lives.

Data released by the Wildlife Society of Odisha (WSO), in collaboration with Wildlife Protection Society of India and Elephant Family, show that, since 1990, nearly 1,400 elephants have died because of human-animal conflict, of which 591 died in the last eight years.

In the same period, 1,200 people have been killed by elephants, with the last eight years accounting for 569 of them.

From an average mortality of 33 per year between 1990 and 2000, the number grew to 46 per year between 2000 and 2010 and reached an alarming average of 73 elephants per year from 2010-11 to 2017-18.

If the rising death trend continues, it spells doom for the species as it might significantly overtake the birth rate, WSO Secretary Biswajit Mohanty said.

According to the data, of the 591 elephants' deaths since 2010, 207 died due to unnatural reasons like poaching (95) and electrocution (87); trains killed 23, two died in road accidents and seven elephants died falling into open wells.

The reasons could not be deterrmined in 111 deaths, primarily due to the fact that by the time the bodies were found, they were in highly decomposed. Since April 2015, 80 bodies were found in such as state.

"On an average Odisha is losing 18 adult breeding male elephants each year. In the last five years at least 62 adult males have been poached, but not a single culprit has been apprehended till now due to lack of an effective intelligence network," said Mohanty, accusing the Forest Department of doing precious little to protect the adult breeding males.

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Three tribal villages of Assam open up their homes



A homestay initiative started by the Balipara Foundation might just become a worthy lesson in the tribal culture of certain villages in Assam. Starting this month, three villages — Balingaon Mishing, Sengelimari Garo and Phuloguri Nyishi — will have designated homes that will function as homestays for anybody who wants to visit. The three villages represent three tribes from the region: Mishing, Garo and Nyishi.

“The project is part of the larger Rural Futures (RuFu) plan aimed at restoration of habitats, community development and improvement of the socio-economic condition of the villagers,” says Saurav Malhotra of the Balipara Foundation. The foundation has been around since 2007 working towards the conservation and preservation of the ecosystem of the eastern Himalayan region. In 2016, it launched Elephant Country initiative, with an aim to preserve the habitat of the Asian Elephant and mitigate the man-elephant conflict by creating an effective elephant corridor in Assam’s Udalgiri region.

For the homestay project, the foundation has collaborated with the Mahila Shakti Kendra (MASK) Balipara that works for the cause of women empowerment in the region, specifically the Balipara development block. MASK works with 106 self help groups spanning more than 300 villages. In the homestay project, the registered beneficiary of each household in the village is a woman. “We helped the Balipara Foundation connect with women from various self-help groups,” says Dhruba Das of MASK, “Tourism is a big component of livelihood here.”

Guests will be able to tour the village, participate in traditional village activities from weaving to farming, sample local cuisine and spend the night in a chang-ghar, an authentic hut on stilts, typical of the architecture of the region. The night stay is priced at about Rs 2,000 while individual activities are charged for separately. “The benefits for the villagers are two-fold,” says Malhotra, “It helps the individual homeowners, and adds to the economic independence of the community too.” Fees for the tours in the villages, the food prepared, cultural performances etc. go directly to the community.


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