Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Who's going to find me some friends? Mali the world's loneliest elephant wants to pack her trunk and go to Thailand after 33 YEARS on her own

Campaigners are calling on the Filipino government to free the country’s only elephant and allow her to be sent to Thailand to spend her final years among her own kin after three decades of solitude.

Mali the elephant has spent 35 years in a barren concrete pen at the Manila Zoo without any inter-species contact and only a small pool to entertain her.

A celebrity backed PETA campaign is now demanding that the elderly elephant's years of loneliness come to an end and that she is reunited with other elephants at a sanctuary in Thailand.

Mali was torn from her mother in Sri Lanka at the age of three and sent to the Philippines as a gift to then-president Ferdinand Marcos in 1977.

She has since spent her days in loneliness and boredom in the small enclosure at the zoo in the capital and is reportedly suffering from a number of ailments as a result of her captivity and age.

Efforts to 'deport' Mali have increased in recent weeks as more groups have joined the campaign, backed by several celebrities including film diva Brigitte Bardot, artist Morrissey and Nobel laureate J.M Coetzee.

They propose the lonely lady be sent to The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang province, to be with an estimated 50 elephants in a forest setting.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Ivory Trade Ban In Thailand Urged By The World Wildlife Fund

BANGKOK (AP) — An international conservation group on Tuesday urged Thailand to ban all ivory trading, warning that rising demand for tusks is fueling an unprecedented slaughter of elephants in Africa.

The World Wildlife Fund said "massive quantities" of African ivory are being imported illegally into Thailand, where they are carved into Buddhist statues, bangles and jewelry that are then sold to tourists or smuggled elsewhere. Although it is against the law to sell African tusks in Thailand, ivory from domesticated elephants can be traded legally.

"Many foreign tourists would be horrified to learn that ivory trinkets on display next to silks in Thai shops may come from elephants massacred in Africa," said Elisabeth McLellan, manager of WWF's Global Species Program. "It is illegal to bring ivory back home and it should no longer be on sale in Thailand."

To read the full article, click on the story title

Friday, January 11, 2013

One lump or poo: World's most expensive coffee at £30 a cup made using beans digested and, er, flavoured by elephants

Forget robusta and arabica - this is the world's most expensive coffee, given its unique flavour by...an elephant's digestive tract.
The thought of a coffee bean passing through an elephant's internal organs might not leave coffee-lovers overly enthused.
But the unique coffee, created in the hills of northern Thailand, is now the world's most expensive variety

To read the full article, click on the story title

Elephant 'swallows' tourist's iPhone

A Thai elephant appears to have swallowed a Chinese visitor's iPhone while she was taking pictures of her friend feeding bananas to the animal at a tourist spot. The phone was later recovered from the elephant's dung, or so it seems in a video that has gone viral on the web.

The incident, at an unidentified elephant camp in Thailand, was conveniently filmed by a third person. But some netizens are not convinced by the video and think it was staged.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The 11th King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament is the biggest and best yet

The 11th annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament came to a close on Sunday in the royal seaside town of Hua Hin. Attended by teams from all over the world as well as royals, celebrities and many other VIP guests, the tournament was a resounding success, offering up a showcase of skillful play, plenty of memorable moments and a new winning team for 2012.

To read the full article click on the story title

Religious Ivory Demand Killing Elephants by Thousands

Elephants are being illegally killed across Africa at the highest rates in a decade, and the global religious market for ivory is a driving force. "Blood Ivory," the cover story in the October issue of National Geographic, offers the first in-depth investigation of this untold story.

While it’s impossible to say exactly how many elephants are slaughtered annually, a conservative estimate for 2011 is more than 25,000. And thousands of those are dying to satisfy religious devotion, their tusks smuggled into countries to be carved into religious artifacts: ivory baby Jesuses and saints for Catholics in the Philippines, Islamic prayer beads for Muslims and Coptic crosses for Christians in Egypt, amulets and carvings for Buddhists in Thailand, and in China—the world’s biggest ivory-consumer country—elaborate Buddhist and Taoist carvings for investors.

To read the full article click on the story title

Friday, May 08, 2009

Ministry orders halt to elephant exports


April 24, 2009
Elephant exports will be suspended for at least five years until a new registration process for the captive beasts is complete, says the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

Better records on elephants born on farms are needed, including new ID cards, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti said yesterday.

"We decided not to export any more elephants until we have a better system to prove that the beasts we send overseas are from farms, not from forests," Mr Suwit said.

"This can help protect them from poaching."

The process would take at least five years.

The Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has estimated that there are 3,000 elephants living in the wild and another 3,000 on farms.

Poachers take elephants from the wild and domesticate them so they can be traded legally at home or sent overseas.

To read the full article click on the story title

Hunted in the wild

Our national symbol is losing the freedom to roam the nation's forests
Tunya Sukpanich, Bangkok Post
March 8, 2009

After two months at the Mahidol University livestock and wild animal hospital in Sai Yok district of Kanchanaburi province, most of the deep wounds on Pang Kanjana's body were healed, but the adult elephant still had a deformed and crippled left hind leg from a broken bone suffered long ago. While at the hospital Pang Kanjana was found to be three to four months pregnant following an ultrasound check-up. (Pang is used for female elephants, while Plai is used for male elephants.)

The owner, Boontham Sala-gharm, had successfully registered Pang Kanjana at the Muang district office in Kanchanaburi and obtained an identity certificate for her on Dec 22, 2008. The next day, however, when Mr Boontham sought a travel permit at the provincial Livestock Department office so he could take the elephant to Phetchaburi province, her condition raised a red flag with officials, who ordered him to take her to the animal hospital in Sai Yok. Mr Boontham , from Surin province, claims that he bought the jumbo for 400,000 baht at Ban Nam Pu Ron along the Thai-Burma border out of compassion, using money borrowed from the Bank of Agriculture and Cooperatives (BAAC) and ''loansharks' in Surin.. The elephant's wounds, as well as her demeanor, made veterinarians and livestock officials wonder if she might have been captured from the wild, strictly prohibited under Thai law. When she arrived at the hospital she appeared frightened and depressed, and avoided people.

Her diet was also a tip-off that she might be a wild elephant. She eats only banana trees a

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Elephants' future truncated

March 13, 2009

The plight of Thailand's elephants has reached a crisis point with the current herd of captive beasts expected to disappear in the next 14 years, conservationists say.

But the national committee in charge of protecting the welfare of elephants has not met since 2003 and is badly in need of reform.

The National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department is pressing for the renewal of the committee on Thai elephants and wants it chaired by the natural resources and environment minister.

Department chief Kasemsun Chinnavaso said the committee should be an effective agency to deal with the serious problems plaguing elephants.

For the full article click on the story title

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Elephant incursions on farmland around the Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary are an ongoing challenge
April 21, 2008

The forestry officers at the Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary sat on the back of a pick-up in semi-darkness, stars twinkling above their heads. Only the soft sound of their chat penetrated the silence. The gathering was so pleasant that we almost forgot why they were here - to prevent wild elephants from the jungle coming to eat crops on the farm.

"They are very intelligent animals. They will wait until no cars are passing and then cross the street," said one officer. It takes 10 of them to surround the invaders and drive them away with firecrackers.

They are here almost every night in the dry season, from November to March or May, when the ripening corn or sugar cane crops lure elephants with their irresistible smells. Elephants usually pay a visit to farmlands at night, from about 8pm onwards, because it's quiet and they're less likely to be disturbed.

Perhaps the herd knew they were going to be ambushed that night, and they stayed away. Luckily for the farmers, their crops were safe for another night. But only for one night. The crop raids, or what the Elephant Conservation Network (ECN) calls "human-elephant conflicts" (HEC), are a common problem found across the world, including Africa and South Asia. In Salakpra, the first incident was reported in 1982 and has persisted for more than 25 years, with more damage incurred in the last five years.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Walk on the wild side

Meet 'Dr Lott', wildlife vet
March 4, 2008

It took Pattarapol Maneeorn five days trekking through the jungle in Chanthaburi province to find a 65-year-old wild elephant stuck in mud. By the time the wildlife vet arrived, the animal was breathing slowly, his eyes showing his fatigue; his heart, left lung and kidney were being pressed down on by his six-tonne body.

Given medicine and doses of vitamins, the elephant became a little stronger. Three days later, a group of soldiers and local villagers tried to haul the creature from the mud. He groaned noisily, trying to lift himself up. Finally he was able to stand on his hind legs, one last time, before he fell dead to the ground.

"He had been waiting for me for so long. And it was too late to nurse him back to health.

"But I couldn't get there any faster, I just couldn't," Pattarapol admitted, his eyes hidden behind black sunglasses. Before his arrival, he was treating a wounded Indian muntjac deer in Kao Yai, about 250km away.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Thailand a key player in illegal wildlife trade

Apinya Wipatayotin, Bangkok Post
March 1, 2008

Thailand is a key player in the wild elephant trade, with the country being used as a transit point for jumbos from neighbouring countries on their way to foreign zoos, according to a report from the Thai Wildlife Protection Network.
Nikom Puttha, the network coordinator who commissioned the report on the wildlife situation in Thailand in 2007, said wild elephant calves from Burma are transported to Thailand via five border districts _ Mae Sariang, Mae La Noi and Sop Moei districts in Mae Hong Son and Umphang and Phop Phra in Tak.
It is estimated that at least 50 elephants have been smuggled from Burma to Thailand each year.
The smugglers then apply for registration documents from authorities to certify they are captive elephants. The documents enable wildlife traders to legally move their animals to elephant shelters where they are trained for three years before being sent to foreign zoos.
''We have found that 70% of them will be trained at shelters in the northeastern provinces, such as Surin and Chaiyaphum, while 30% of them will be sent to elephant shelters in the North,'' said Mr Nikom.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wild elephants trample Thai monk to death

Monsters and Critics
February 22, 2008

Bangkok - A herd of wild elephants trampled a Thai Buddhist monk to death and severely injured another who had entered the forest to meditate, media reports said Friday.

Nattaporn Kittiyano, 38, and Wichian Khemmako, 43, had strolled into the forest Wednesday evening at the Thap Lan National Park in Nakorn Ratchasima province, 200 kilometres north-east of Bangkok, to meditate when they chanced upon a herd of 11 wild pachyderms, including four babies, the Thai Rath newspaper reported.

The elephants surrounded the two monks, who attempted to hide in the bushes, and trampled Nattaporn to death and injuring Wichian, who managed to flee and alert fellow monks at the nearby Bolong temple.

When four other monks came to check on Nattaporn, the elephants chased them up a tree where they were forced to remain for almost two hours.

Thap Lan National Park director Yuthanna Sringernngam said this was the wrong season to stumble into elephants.

'This is elephant mating season, so they are very dangerous, and if you meet a herd of pachyderms now, you should just run away,' Yuthanna told the Thai Rath, a mass circulation daily.

He noted that under Thai law, wild elephants were a protected species, so no revenge would be sought for Nattaporn's death.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Inquiry into sudden death of wild elephant

Bangkok Post
January 22, 2008

Kanchanaburi _ Veterinarians are investigating the death of a wild elephant at Thong Pha Phum national park where conflicts between locals and the jumbos are on the rise.

Park officials were told by villagers who spotted the male elephant, aged about 25, that it had sustained a serious wound to its front left leg last week.

The vets were called in to herd the injured animal out of the deep jungle for treatment. But while the team was getting the 4.5 tonne animal onto a lorry it slipped to the ground and died.

An initial examination found the elephant's left leg was broken. The vets did not think this caused its death.

There are about 60 wild elephants in the national park.

Authorities are concerned about elephant-human confrontations because the animals often raid farms.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Elephants block road, kill man

December 31, 2007

Prachuap Khiri Khan _ A herd of wild elephants trampled a Karen man to death and injured his friend near a road in Hua Hin district yesterday.

The dead man was identified only as Bird.

He died of head injuries and multiple broken bones.

Haepo, 19, also a Karen, was treated in hospital for less serious hand and leg injuries.

Mr Haepo told police he was driving a motorcycle with Bird riding pillion. They were on their way home after a night out when they came across the elephants, which were blocking the Hua Hin-Ban Huay Satyai Pala-u road.

He said he tried to go around the animals but an elephant suddenly emerged from behind a nearby bush and charged at them.

As he tried to speed off to escape the attack, he lost control of his bike and it plunged into a roadside ditch.

The other elephants then joined in the attack, inflicting fatal injuries on Bird.

Realising that he could do nothing to help his friend, Mr Haepo ran to save his own life.

He took cover in the nearby woods until villagers came to his rescue.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Epidemic might have killed six elephants, says veterinarian

The Nation
October 27, 2007

The skeletons of the six elephants found on Thursday in Chanthaburi indicated that the animals might have died in great pain, a veterinarian said yesterday.

Pattarapon Maneeon said chemical poisoning might not be the only possibility and an epidemic could have killed them. The carcasses of the six cows, aged 15 to 40, were decomposed but vets managed to retrieve some flesh, bones, abdomen fat, grass from their stomachs and maggots.

The jumbos were dead for two months so traces of disease or chemicals might have disintegrated and disappeared, Pattarapon said. He will contact the Medical Science Depart-ment, National Institute of Animal Health and veterinary faculties at universities to see if they can help with testing.

Chalermsak Wanichsombat, director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said he would ask for assistance from labs at Kasetsart and Mahidol universities. He believes the elephants probably died from an epidemic, not chemicals, but wants scientific results to confirm the cause.

Pattarapon said it appeared that the jumbos did not perish instantly and might have suffered a lot, as they appeared to have been struggling. Villagers had also spoken of hearing elephants crying in agony.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Monday, May 21, 2007

First elephant released into wild under foundation plan

Pasara Puthamat, The Nation
May 20. 2007

After two years of careful training to prepare Pang Kham Mool Yai for life in the wild, the 35-year-old elephant was yesterday released into the Sublangka Wildlife Sanctuary.

Kham Mool Yai is the first domesticated elephant to be introduced to the wild under a programme that will see a further 80 released over time by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation.

However, many fear the animals may not be able to adjust.

Kasetsart University's Narit Bhumiphakphan said domestic elephants born and raised in captivity depended on humans for survival.

"It will be very hard for them to change their habits and survive," he said.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Monday, April 09, 2007

Thailand drought tough on elephants

Science Daily
March 17, 2007

BANGKOK, March 17 (UPI) -- Elephants have been coming out of Thailand's jungles in search of food and water because of an ongoing drought.

The Bangkok Post reported Saturday that drought, along with "ecologically destructive farming practices," have posed a major threat to natural sources of food and shelter for elephants in the wild.

Soraida Salwala, founder of the Friends of the Asian Elephant group, told the Post, "Undoubtedly, the drastic climate change is now a cause of concern because if it drags on and worsens, the well-being of hundreds of elephants will be in jeopardy."

To read the full story click on the link in the blog title

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Road closing at night to frustrate freebooting elephants

January 18, 2007
Chachoengsao _ The road through Khao Ang Rue Nai wildlife sanctuary will be closed at night to stop wild elephants stopping and raiding cargo trucks. ''A herd of about 20 elephants frequently blocks the road and holds up cargo trucks until a bundle of sugarcane, tapioca or pineapple is tossed to them as a highway fee,'' Chachoengsao governor Arnont Promnart said yesterday.
Otherwise, the truculent animals would attack and damage the trucks, as happened on Jan 6.
Effective in the next few days, the 14.7km route No. 3259 through the park _ the Ban Nong Kog-Ban Wang Nam Phon road _ will be closed from 9pm to 5am to prevent further danger to travellers and wildlife.
Mr Arnont said the matter was urgent because during the dry season wild animals would cross the road to drink at the Phutai reservoir at night.
The governor acted on sanctuary chief Yoo Senatham's suggestion after the elephants' behaviour became worse, with two herds now involved in the pillaging at night.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Elephants stop, loot trucks on dark road

January 12, 2007
Chachoengsao _ The chief of Khao Ang Rue Nai wants the road through the wildlife sanctuary closed at night after a herd of elephants held up and looted a string of cargo trucks. About midnight last Saturday a herd of 20 elephants blocked route No.3259 (the Ban Nong Kog-Ban Wang Nam Phon road) holding up 10 trucks, Yoo Senatham said.
They tipped some vehicles on their side, spilling the cargoes on the road so their young could eat, and gorged on sugarcane and tapioca.
''This was not an isolated incident on this road,'' said Yoo Senatham. ''Recently a pregnant deer was hit and killed and last month a pick-up truck hit an elephant.''
These incidents prompted the sanctuary chief to ask provincial governor Arnont Promnart to close the 14.7km route through the park from 9pm to 5am to prevent further danger to travellers and wildlife.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thai elephants to be shown in Australian zoo after animal rights furor

International Herald Tribume Asia Pacific
November 2nd 2006

SYDNEY, Autralia: Four Thai elephants will go on public display at Sydney's zoo for the first time Friday after an extended battle with animal rights activists who argued their captivity was cruel.

Protests and legal challenges by activists in both Thailand and Australia had delayed the transfer of the animals for more than 1 1/2 years. But despite protests in both Thailand and Australia, the four female elephants were flown into Sydney Airport on Thursday from Cocos Islands, a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean where they were kept in quarantine for three months

To read the full story click here or on the blog title

Controversial Asian elephants jet into Sydney


November 02, 2006

EIGHT elephants which have been stranded overseas for more than two years have finally arrived in Sydney today.

After years of legal wrangling and repeated clashes with protesters the four female Asian elephants were due to arrive on a flight from the Cocos Islands at 11:30am today. The other four elephants will arrive in a couple of days.

To read the full story from news.com.au click here or on the blog title

Friday, October 13, 2006

Elephants may get IDs, more protection

Elephants may get IDs, more protection
Janjira Pongrai
The Nation September 10, 2006

Public opinion will be sought on a proposed new law relating to elephants before a final revision of the draft bill is submitted for parliamentary consideration, the vice minister of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said yesterday

Noppadol Pattama said the bill, which the ministry has recently drafted, complies with and consolidates about 10 existing elephant-related acts and contains 17 key provisions to protect both wild and domestic elephants. These include controversial new regulations regarding the issue of elephant identification documents and the establishment of a DNA database of the animals.

Under the new law, the birth of a domestic elephant must be reported to the ministry within seven days for an elephant ID card to be issued. If an elephant dies, the owner must report the death to officials within 24 hours. The draft bill also states that a DNA database will be set up when such technology is available in the country. It has been more than a decade since the government and conservationists first tried to revise all elephant-related laws.

Soraida Salwala, secretary-general of the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation, was happy with the draft bill, saying it closes loopholes in the existing law that only requires elephant owners to register newborn animals within eight years and does not require them to report a death.She said eight years was long enough for anyone to hunt a wild elephant or falsify information, since it was difficult to check in many cases whether elephants were born in captivity or in the wild.

The bill also covers the process of importing and exporting elephants, as well as measures to provide welfare for the animals. Noppadol said the ministry was seeking comment from all parties, especially people who had businesses that utilise elephants.