Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Celebrity elephant kills owner in Thailand

BANGKOK: An elephant that has starred in feature films and commercials crushed its owner to death in Thailand, zoo officials said Tuesday, setting off fresh debate over the kingdom’s animal tourism industry.

The accident took place Monday morning in the northern city of Chiang Mai, just after owner Somsak Riengngen unchained the five-tonne elephant Ekasit.

With a mahout, or handler, on his back, Ekasit took a few steps before reversing course and attacking 54-year-old Somsak, who was on the ground.

“The elephant suddenly turned back and used his trunk to grab the victim. Then the elephant used his trunk to crush him,” Wuthichai Muangman, acting director of Chiang Mai Zoo, told AFP.

Wuthichai, who described Somsak as an “elephant expert,” said the 32-year-old animal was in musth when the accident happened.

Ekasit, who according to a zoo official appeared in Thai and foreign films as well as several television advertisements, was being temporarily housed at the zoo under a contract due to expire in April.

Thailand is notorious for an elephant tourism trade that sees the animals performing in circuses, giving rides, or hired out for other forms of entertainment.

A July report by World Animal Protection found that twice as many elephants are pushed into Thailand’s tourism industry as the rest of Asia combined, with most kept in “severely inadequate conditions.”

Out of 2,923 elephants documented as working in Asia’s tourism trade, 2,198 were in Thailand.
Wuthichai said the Chiang Mai Zoo does not hold elephant shows but allows tourists to feed the animals.

Animal rights campaign group PETA said while the keeper’s death was a tragedy, it illustrated the potentially violent consequences of keeping elephants confined.

“Is it any wonder that some of these gentle animals eventually become fed up and fight back after being chained while confined to small enclosures that are a fraction of the size of their natural habitats?” a statement said.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Elephants Soak Passers-by Ahead Of Boisterous Thai Holiday

Trained elephants sprayed motorists and passers-by with water in Thailand's old capital city of Ayutthaya on Tuesday to welcome in the Buddhist New Year, known as "Songkran."

The jumbos from an elephant camp in the old capital Ayutthaya were brought out myanmar tours to rake passing traffic, soak passengers in open vehicles and spray anyone foolish or brave enough to venture within range.

The holiday, the longest in the Thai calendar, starts later this week and runs officially for three days. Cities empty out as workers head home to see family and celebrate by cleansing images of the Buddha, washing the hands and feet of elders, and throwing water on each other in what is sometimes called the world's biggest water-fight.

With assist from its mahouts, elephants blow water from its trunk to tourists on motor-tricycle or Tuk Tuk, ahead of the Buddhist New Year, known here as Songkran, in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand Tuesday, April 11, 2017. The three-day new year festival will start on April 13.

The festival -- which is also celebrated in neighboring myanmar tours, Cambodia and Laos -- falls at the hottest time of the year, when temperatures often creep above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Friday, December 01, 2017

Park officials warn tourists of possible encounter with wild elephants at eight parks

The spokesman for the Department of Wildlife and Plants Conservation yesterday (Nov 6) warned tourists visiting eight national parks in the country of possible encounter with wild elephants during the cold season.

His warning came after tourists encountered a herd of wild elephants at Khun Pavor national park in Tak province on Sunday.

Sighting and encountering of wild elephants were also reported at Khao Yai national park in the connected area of Prachinburi and Nakhon Ratchasima.

Sompoj Maneerat said as national parks are areas where wild animals are harboured, therefore encountering with them is normal.

In particular this coming cold season, the chance to encounter them is high as they will wander around for food. he said.

He then named eight wildlife sanctuaries in national parks where visitors have high chance to encounter elephants as Khao Soi Dao in Chanthaburi, Khao Arng Luenai in Chachoengsao, Dong Phyayen in Nakhon Ratchasima, Nam Nao in in Phetchabun, Phu Kradueng and Phu Rua in Loei, Phu Luang in Chaiyaphum, and Khun Pavor in Tak.

He advised tourists to these national parks to read instructions before visiting these places.

He said authorities will be available at all these places to give instructions and will have tourist assistance centres to give information.

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Thai Customs Seize 116 Kilos of Ivory Tusks and 15 Kilos of Pangolin Scales

BANGKOK – Thai Customs officials seized 116 kilograms of ivory tusks and 15 kilograms of pangolin scales in cardboard boxes imported from Congo at the cargo warehouse in Suvarnabhumi international airport on Thursday.

The two items of contraband which were falsely declared as fish maw were estimated to worth over 11 million baht.

Customs Department chief Kulit Sombatsiri said customs officials stationed at the cargo warehouse became suspicious of the content in the cardboard boxes which was declared as fish maw.

The boxes were opened and the content was found to be ivory tusks and pangolin scales.
However, no one claimed the ownership of the boxes.

Earlier on Sept 18, elephant tusks from Congo were also seized at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Authorities suspected that this batch came from the same group of smuggler.

According to Customs Department, between October 2016 to October 2017, 46 items of illegal wildlife products, worth about 350 million baht, have been intercepted in Thailand.

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Elephant Nature Park: Chiang Mai's most responsible animal sanctuary

Bangkok might be the most-visited city in the world, but it's far from the only draw in Thailand.
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."

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Seven elephants successfully rescued from a pond

With the help of a backhoe from the highways office of Chachoengsao, seven elephants were successfully rescued from a pond in Bang Ang Ta Poeng after they fell into the pond since about 2 am on Sunday(Nov 12).

Mr Decha Nilvichien, chief of Khao Ang Ruenai wildlife sanctuary, said that the backhoe which arrived at Bang Ang Ta Poeng village at about 8 am dug up the soil to form a slope leading to the pond allowing the trapped elephants to walk out of the pond.

He said that two elephants firstly walked out from the pond, then followed by one elephant after another until all the animals were out of danger at about 8.40 am.

However, Mr Decha said a team of forest rangers was sent to follow the herd into the jungle toward Ban Noen Krabok in Tha Takiab district of Chachoengsao.

The seven elephants, including two babies, accidentally fell into the pond as they were scouring for food in a rubber plantation in Ban Ang Ta Poeng. They were unable to get out because the embankment of the pond is steep and slippery.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Soldier killed in Phetchaburi elephant stampede

A soldier helping Phetchaburi farmers drive elephants off their cropland was killed by one of the animals on Monday.

Residents of Tambon Padeng in Kaeng Krachan district were horrified to learn that Master Sergeant Supachat Khaengraeng, a 34-year-old member of the Thappraya Sua Task Force, had died from injuries inflicted by an elephant. The Kanchanaburi native was run over while he and his team and local volunteers and park officials were driving off a herd of elephants in Ban Pa Deng (Moo 3).

Supachat was rushed to Kaeng Krachan Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. The herd was back in the same village later on Monday, circling the scene of the attack for 30 minutes before returning to the forest. Resident Pongpanich Thaicharoen, who witnessed the tragedy, believed that Supachat had been attacked because the herd was being confronted on two sides.

He and his neighbours did not know that officials just across the provincial border in Prachuap Khiri Khan were using firecrackers to drive the same herd off farmland and into the woods. Caught in the middle, the elephants panicked and stampeded, and Supachat was crushed in the chaos, Pongpanich said. He offered condolences to the officer’s family on behalf of the tambon’s residents.

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Elephant chases selfie-snapping joggers down road in Thailand

A man snapping photos of elephants in a Thai national park captured the moment two joggers were chased by an angry pachyderm after getting close for a selfie.

Kamron Petprayoon uploaded a series of photos to Facebook showing a man and a woman being chased down a paved road through Khao Yai National Park.

Petprayoon wrote the joggers had stopped to take a selfie with the elephant when they came across it in the road, and the animal took exception to their unwelcome proximity and unauthorized photography.

He said the elephant stopped chasing the couple once they were a distance away, but it resumed the chase three times when they stopped running.

Petprayoon said the joggers eventually escaped by running fast and far enough away from the annoyed animal, but the elephant remained in the road until park rangers arrived to shoo it away.

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Humans must learn to live with elephants, say experts

Forest preservation measures and a better understanding of animal behaviour will help find a sustainable solution to the problem of crop destruction by wild elephants, according to wildlife experts.

There have been several reports in the past month of wild elephants encroaching on farmland near the forest, especially in the Eastern Region, destroying crops and sometimes hurting people and damaging personal belongings.

The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) said this is because the elephants have been forced to expand their territory as they search for food. And the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) suggests that local people learn to benefit from the presence of elephants and help to preserve the forest to stop conflicts between animals and humans.

Kanjana Nitaya, DNP Wildlife Conservation Office director, said there were about 3,500 to 4,000 elephants roaming the forest of Thailand and the number is increasing due to conservation efforts.

While this was a good sign that wild elephant conservation was successful, Kanjana said that limited food and water sources in the

forest, combined with human encroachment, put the elephants under pressure. This led to them straying into farms to find new sources of food.

“The department acknowledges the growing conflict between the people around the forest and the wild elephants,” she said. “We have worked for quite a while to solve this conflict and to find a way to let elephants sustain themselves, but this task also needs cooperation from the local people.”

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Man injured after being accidentally trampled on by wild elephant

Three villagers were out foraging in the Petchaburi province on Saturday (October 7) when they happened upon a wild elephant close to the Kaeng Krachan national park.

One of the villagers Dam Chongdharoen was badly injured in the encounter after the elephant became spooked and trampled the man trying to flee.

Dam suffered a broken jaw, leg and arm in the incident and was rescued on a makeshift stretcher by park rangers and other villagers before being sent to the Hua Hin Hospital.

Dam’s friend who was uninjured in the encounter told park officials that the elephant became spooked during their chance encounter at a plot of land where crops are specially grown for the elephants to eat and both they and the elephant tried to flee but unfortunately Dam was trampled.

He told officials he left Dam there to search for help from rangers.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Elephant rescue mission gaining ground

An elephant from Phuket is at the top of Jack Lanting’s rescue list.

Every day, shack led by chains, Gow is forced to carry people in the heat. Years of this treatment has caused her to adopt a heavy sway but Gow won’t have to live like this for much longer.

Gow is the first elephant Jack plans to save when he opens his $1.8 mil lion elephant sanctuary in
Thai land next year. ‘‘She is number one,’’ Jack said. ‘‘I’ve promised her we are going to rescue her one day.’

Jack’s mum, Viv Lanting, said there were a lot of elephants that needed help but with Gow there was a special connection. ‘‘With her, we go up and just touch her trunk to show her love, because she sways so heavily. Normally that would actually stop them from swaying but we have only been able to halve it with her.’’

Jack was 8 when he went to Thailand for the first time.

He is now 16 and has been back to Thailand nine more times, has saved two elephants and helped
rescue three others.

He is a year 12 student at St John’s College in Hamilton and at the end of the year he plans to leave
school and open his own elephant sanctuary.

The sanctuary will be named Kwan Jai, after the first elephant Jack raised funds to rescue.
A location is yet to be confirmed but Jack has been looking at areas in central Thailand.
All going to plan, building will start in June or July next year.

‘‘Wherever we go, it’s got to be huge. We’ve been looking at 2000 acres or bigger,’’ Jack said.
‘‘We need some thing with a river and we’re hoping to find some thing that’s be tween the river and national park, so that we can create a green corridor for the wild elephants to walk between.
‘‘It’s not just a sanctuary, it’s a conservation project that’s concerned with perma
culture and reforestation,’’ Jack said.

Jack has already been promised his first elephant for the sanctuary – Sook Sai, an elephant he helped rescue in 2015.

Sook Sai now lives at Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand, an elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre founded by Thai woman Lek Chailert.

Jack first knew he wanted to start his own sanctuary after an under cover mission six years ago. ‘‘We saw this one elephant, Lily. ‘‘She was on the beach and she had her name etched into her skin, on her forehead, with sharpened sticks. She and her mahout were high. She was 3 and she should have been a lot more boisterous than what she was, but she was just standing there because of the drugs she’d been given.’’ Jack launches his fund-raising scheme to day and hopes to raise $1.8m through his website and grants

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Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Injured Elephant Rescued in Thailand

UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — A wounded elephant has been rescued after spending around a day stuck in a canal in Thailand.

Thai PBS says the 10-year-old elephant was stranded in a canal in Phitsanulok.

Experts suspect that his back legs were broken.

Officials initially used heavy machinery to create a level slope on the bank of the canal to encourage the elephant to walk out.

However, he appeared to be so tired and injured he couldn’t move on his own.

So, a large group pulled the elephant to land themselves.

Then, they tied ropes to backhoes to help support the injured elephant as they walked him to a truck.

It reportedly took more than six hours to walk him 500 meters.

Once they loaded him onto the bed of a truck, they drove 10 hours to an elephant conservation center in Lampang province for treatment.

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Elephants in tribute to late King at ancient capital

Ayutthaya, Thailand (AP) – Eleven Thai elephants, doused in powder to appear an auspicious white, stood at attention and trumpeted grandly at a ceremony Friday in Thailand’s ancient royal capital, Ayutthaya, marking one year since King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death.

Mourners clad in black stood in front of the elephants and fell silent for 89 seconds from 3:52 p.m., the official time of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death in what Thailand’s Buddhist culture recognized as his 89th year.

Then they sang an uplifting royal anthem and held pictures of Bhumibol above their heads while others prostrated on the ground.

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Wild elephant died three days after being rescued from stream

The wild male elephant which was rescued from Khlong Chompoo in the Thung Salaeng Luang National Park in Phitsanulok’s Noen Maprang district and brought to the elephant hospital in Lampang for treatment has died, wildlife officials have confirmed.

The elephant, which has been named “Chompoo”, was swept away by flash flood and fell into Khlong Chompoo, a stream in the national park, on Oct 17. He got stuck in the stream for over 26 hours before being rescued on Oct 18. He was then transported to the elephant hospital in Lampang on Oct 19.

On arriving at the hospital, Chompoo was weak, unable to stand or walk as the hind legs sustained injuries.

Today (Oct 21), a team of veterinarians used a crane to lift up the elephant to perform an enema for an examination.  The elephant tried to stand on its own feet, showing a sign of improvement.  A massage was performed on its hips and hind legs to increase the blood circulation.

Taweechok Angkhawanich, the veterinarian, said Chompoo was bleeding in the spine. It was given antibiotics, water and food solutions. The elephant has been given 200 litres of saline solution per day as it eats only a little food but does not drink water.

He said it was still not know it would have a problem with its bones.

However, in late afternoon, the elephant’s condition deteriorated and succumbed to injuries. The jumbo died three days after he was pulled out from the stream.

A senior official at the National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department said the veterinarians would conduct an autopsy to find out the cause of the death.

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Wild elephant to be autopsied and buried

LAMPANG: Veterinarians are preparing to conduct an autopsy and then bury a wild bull elephant which died after a dramatic rescue.

Phlai Chomphu, who was between 15 and 20 years old, died on Saturday night, one day after the elephant was sent for treatment at the National Elephant Institute in Hang Chat district in Lampang from Phitsanulok.

Vet Nikorn Thongthip of the veterinary science faculty of Chiang Mai University said on Sunday the elephant died of kidney failure, likely brought on by extreme stress. "The veterinarian team have done their best to save this wild elephant," he told a media briefing.

Since the elephant was wild, the death has been reported to the Department of National Parks and Plant Conservation. An autopsy to confirm the cause of death will be conducted by a team of veterinarians from the National Elephant Institute, and Kasetsart and Chiang Mai universities.

Dr Nikorn said that following the autsopsy, a religious ceremony will be held to bury the jumbo.
Phlai Chomphu had grabbed national attention after it was swept into a boggy canal by a flash flood in Noen Maprang district in Phitsanulok on Tuesday morning. The jumbo was pulled from the mud on Wednesday and transported to the Institute on Friday.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Villagers strive to rescue stranded young elephant from muddy canal

Local villagers tried hard on Tuesday to rescue a young wild elephant that had become stuck in mud in a canal after apparently being caught up in a flash flood in Phitsanulok’s Noen Maprang district.

The animal, believed to be a male, is thought to be from Thung Salang Luang National Park, where it may have become detached from its mother.

The young elephant, which was found almost totally submerged in Chompu Canal in the morning, was able to breathe by raising its trunk above the water.

By the afternoon, however, it appeared to be tired after being stuck in the muddy waterway for many hours.

Charnwit Sangsoi, chief of Tham Patapon animal protection zone, said the elephant may have been caught up in the flooding that was blanketing the area, and could have been rushed down the canal by the strong current.

Lieng Nuamoun, a 60-year-old former mahout, volunteered to try to get a rope on the animal in an attempt to get it out of the water.

However, the elephant seemed to respond angrily and used its trunk to beat the water, resulting in Lieng having to give up his attempt.

As of press time, the attempts to rescue the stranded pachyderm were still ongoing.

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Thai octogenarian faces prosecution for 'questioning 400-year-old royal elephant battle'

An octogenarian historian faces prosecution under Thailand’s strict lese majeste laws for allegedly criticising a royal elephant battle said to have taken place four centuries ago.

Sulak Sivarska, 84, a high profile social critic in his native Thailand, has been summoned before military prosecutors on Monday for reportedly questioning historical accounts of King Naresuan, who reigned from 1590-1605.

Thailand is subject to draconian laws that forbid defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family, with a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail.

Mr Sulak told the Bangkok Post that his case was “not normal” after he was informed by police last week to report to them on Monday. “If the country was normal and there existed rule of law..then there won’t be problems,” he said.

His lawyer, Puangtip Boonsanong, said he did not understand how comments on a historical monarch could violate a law which explicitly covered the reigning monarch, queen, heir apparent and regent.

Mr Sulak’s case stems from comments he made at Bangkok’s Thammasat University in 2014, during a time when the character of King Naresuan was being promoted in nationalist epic period films that were promoted by the newly installed military junta who had just staged a coup.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Villagers' normal life disturbed by elephants in northeastern Thailand

A herd of wild elephants has been keeping disturbing a village in northeastern Thailand for a week, bringing sleepless nights for villagers, local media reported Sunday.

Fields and crops of a village in Nakhorn Rachasima province have been destroyed by five elephants. Locals said the herd spends the day time in dense forests and ventures out to their fields at night, forcing the villagers to take turn to keep watch the move of the animals nightly.

Soldiers have been dispatched to the area to help the villagers keep the rampaging herd from intruding into the hamlet.

Officials are busy trying to keep the herd from entering the villages. No injured has been reported so far.

Elephant attacks are common in Thailand, a country with rich forests where the population of elephants is more than 2,700.

In May, a woman was kicked and killed by wild elephants while she was tapping rubber trees in a plantation in Chachoengsao, a province east to Bangkok in south-central Thailand.

Wild elephants destroying crops and ferociously chasing villagers are reported every year.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Thieving elephant takes bale of hay from back of truck

An elephant walked into a Thailand road to stop a truck traveling through a national park before stealing a bale of hay from the back of the vehicle.

Witnesses said the truck was traveling through Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima province when an elephant wandered out of the trees and walked into the road to stop the vehicle.

One witness, Savet Rassame, 47, recorded video of the elephant walking around to the side of the truck and stealing a bale of hay from the vehicle's trailer.

''The elephant looked like he was having fun eating a new bale of hay," Rassame said. ''It was a big, big elephant so I think he was hungry. I did not want to go to close to it.''

Park Chief Kanchit Srinappawan said that while the park is known for its many free-roaming elephants, it's rare for the animals to approach vehicles on the road.

''I don't know how the elephant knew the truck would be there carrying hay. He may have sensed it or saw them approaching in the distance," Srinappawan said. ''The elephant came out from the trees and made the driver stop then grabbed the hay.''

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“Say No to Ivory” campaign launched to protect elephants

The campaign, part of the global wildlife programme “When the buying stops, the killing can too”, was launched by the Centre of Hand-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment (CHANGE) and WildAid organisation.

CHANGE Director Hoang Thi Minh Hong said her centre is carrying out communication activities to improve public awareness of elephant protection by not buying or using ivory products.
The “Say No to Ivory” campaign is set to last for three years, she noted.

John Baker, Managing Director of WildAid, said the poaching and trading of elephant ivory has been banned in many countries, but the elephant killing in Africa and ivory trading in Asia still occurs. WildAid has worked with China and Thailand to prevent illegal ivory trading. In Vietnam, it is focusing on measures to change people’s wrong belief in the uses of wildlife products, including ivory, through communication publications.

Do Quang Tung, an official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the number of elephants in Vietnam has fallen from more than 1,000 to about 100 which mainly live along the border with Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam has become an illegal point of transit for ivory over the last decade, he noted.

Elephants are being strictly protected at national parks and ivory trading is completely prohibited in the country, Tung said, admitting that a large volume of ivory has still been illegally transported into Vietnam.

Le Nguyen Linh, a customs official at the Saigon Port, said up to 6 tonnes of elephant ivory was seized at this port of entry in the last three months of 2016. Ivory is often hidden in wood blocks or aquatic products inside big containers transported through sea ports.

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SKAL Krabi announces fundraiser to aid establishment of elephant sanctuary

SKAL Krabi announces fundraiser to aid establishment of elephant sanctuary
SKAL Krabi today announced that it has chosen to fully support the Krabi Elephant Sanctuary project founded by Mr Henrik Enevoldsen, who is a passionate local focused on creating a safe haven for Thailand’s mistreated elephants, and hopes to get support to rescue the burdened creatures.

SKAL is an international organisation for tourism professionals with branches across the globe.

To open the sanctuary, Mr Enevoldsen needs B35 million, and says he hopes to have the first 20mn before November, so he can buy the piece of land he has had put on hold and will hopefully become the foundation for a safe haven for abused elephants.

The next 15 million will go to building facilities for the elephants, which he says he hopes to start building around February 2018.

Mr Enevoldsen has received the backing of prominent elephant care activist Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, founder of the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary and rescue centre for elephants in Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai.

In a video in both English and Thai, released by Skal Krabi Ms Chailert urges people to support Mr Enevoldsen in his endeavour to found a sanctuary in Krabi similar to hers.

SKAL Krabi has decided to make this project our charity of choice and we are now organizing our first charity event in full support of Henrik and this amazing project.

To make the event a success and to raise as much money as we can for Henrik, we are asking for support from the community and local businesses by providing prizes and items for the inaugural SKAL Krabi Elephant Sanctuary Auction Fundraiser.

The event will be held at the new Mountain View Complex in Ao Nang, Krabi on Wednesday, November 29, 2017.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hungry elephant demolished car roof in Thailand

The network got funny footage, which shows how a hungry elephant in the Thai city of Prachuapkhirikhan plundered a pickup truck in search of food. The operator, who captured the incident, preferred to get out of the way of an aggressive animal as soon as possible.

In the frames below, it is captured how the elephant takes down the top of the pickup truck in search of food.

Whether the people who were in the car managed to leave the salon promptly and avoid injuries is not known.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Elephant attacks Rayong monk collecting alms

A monk making his alms rounds in Rayong’s Khao Chamao district was attacked by a wild elephant early Friday.

Police said Phra Phanuwat Thanussaro, 24, of Wat Madua Tham suffered broken ribs when the elephant struck him with its trunk. He was taken to Khao Chamao Hospital. The attack occurred on a road near the village of Moo 2 in Tambon Khao Noi.

The monk said the elephant came out of woods and attacked him so suddenly that he had no time to flee, and then just as suddenly returned to the forest.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tour Operator Finds Solution To Elephant Tourism

AS ELEPHANT TOURISM HITS THE HEADLINES, AND COMPANIES LIKE INTREPID MAKE DEFIANT STANDS AGAINST THE PRACTICE, OYSTER WORLDWIDE IS SPEAKING OUT ABOUT MISTREATMENT OF ELEPHANTS WITHIN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY AND HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN ETHICAL ELEPHANT PROJECTS.

World Animal Protection (WAP) researchers last week announced findings that more than three quarters of the 3000 elephants they assessed were living in ‘severely cruel conditions.’

The researchers claim that an increased market for elephant tourism, including activities such as elephant rides, is fuelling elephant cruelty.

Oyster Worldwide agree with the WAP findings that elephants are being mistreated across the globe for entertainment, and want to raise awareness of ways in which travellers can interact with elephants in safe and ethical settings.

“Oyster Worldwide is pleased that WAP has managed to bring cruelty to animals to the mainstream news. It is incredibly important that travellers and tourists are aware of some of the cruelty that goes on behind the scenes,” Destination Manager Anne Smellie said.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Elephant kills mahout in South

A rampaging elephant killed his mahout and fled into a nearby forest in Nop Phi Tham district before being subdued on Saturday morning.

Veterinarian Pornpirom Fungtakul rushed to tambon Nop Phi Tham after being alerted by local residents that the male elephant “Sidor Mongkhol’’ was hiding in the forest near a fruit plantation.

Local residents were gripped with fear as the pachyderm appeared wild and out of control. The elephant attacked his mahout Thanee Sae Siew, 40, on Friday evening before fleeing into the forest. Thanee was taken to a local hospital and later pronounced dead.

Residents waited until morning before seeking help. The elephant was subdued after the veterinarian shot it with three tranquilliser darts on Saturday morning. He and other local residents then used a rope as a lasso to take the animal to a creek to drink water.

Mr Pornpirom said he had checked the elephant's records and found that Thanee had bought the animal from Chawang district to work in Nop Phi Tham.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Henrik wants to create safe haven for elephants in Krabi

In Thailand, elephants suffer from the tourism industry more than any place else in the world. Henrik Enevoldsen from Denmark is trying to create a safe haven for Thailand’s mistreated elephants, and hopes to get support from fellow Scandinavians to rescue the burdened creatures.

Henrik Enevoldsen was only around three or fours years old when he first encountered the large animal that would one day become a significant part of his life. Cirkus Benneweis, one of Denmark’s premier circuses, camped right across from Henrik’s parents’ house in Esbjerg, southern Denmark, and that is when Henrik for the first time saw a real elephant.

“I became very fascinated by this large elephant that looked very different from the other animals we would usually see in Denmark. I would walk back and forth between my parents’ house and the circus to see the elephants by the circus,” said Henrik.

The fascination has followed the now 50-year-old Henrik Enevoldsen ever since that very first encounter, and he is now planning to open up a sanctuary for elephants, abused by the logging and tourism industries, in Krabi, southern Thailand.

Supported elephants right from the start

Henrik came to Thailand the for the first time in 1988 while travelling around Asia. Two years later, in 1990, he decided upon settling down in Krabi where he started Café Europa, a place that have brought many people together over Scandinavian food.

While running Café Europa, Henrik has supported many elephant projects in Thailand, which buys elephants out of mistreatment in the logging and tourism industry and places them in sanctuaries where the elephants are given a better life, away from the abuse which they have often suffered under for many years.

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Woman killed in suspected attack by wild elephant

A woman was found dead near a national park in Chanthaburi province’s Soi Dao district on Wednesday in what is believed to have been an attack by a wild elephant.

The body of Thongkhoon Khamphoonput, 58, was found beside a sugar cane plantation and a fruit orchard near Khao Soi Dao National Park in Ban Klong Phok village in Tambon Tabchang of Soi Dao district. The woman was badly injured with two broken legs and bruises all over the body.

Elephant footprints were spotted around her body and there were traces of elephants eating sugar cane and pineapples at the scene.

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Hungry elephants raid farms in Korat

NAKHON RATCHASIMA - A large herd of hungry elephants have raided crops in Soeng Sang district, pillaging almost 30 rai of their favourite farm produce, sugarcane and corn.

Local officials on Thursday surveyed the damage to crops in tambon Ban Rart. Based on the extent of the  damage, they estimated the herd to be at least 20 strong.

Elephant dung amid the raided crop at a farm in Soeng Sang district, Nakhon Ratchasima.

Farmers said they took turns guarding their crops, but had failed in their efforts to drive away the elephants. There were just too many, and nobody dared to anger them.

Their farms are near Thap Lan National Park, a vast area of forest. They did not know which direction the elephants would come from and this made it even harder to guard their crops.

Pimpaporn Rujinrachet, assistant chief of Ban Rart tambon administration organisation, said the elephants had come out of the forest in search of food earlier than usual this year.

Normally, they emerged only during the dry season, when food was often scarce in the park's forest.

The large herd may have depleted their natural supply of food early and turned to raiding local farmland, where their favourite crops, especially sugarcane and corn, were growing.

The TAO would send staff to make joint patrols with the local people, and hopefully keep away the raiding elephants. Help would be provided for farmers whose crops were ruined, Ms Pimpaporn said.

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Friday, August 04, 2017

Death of an elephant causes anxiety among villagers at Khao Kluaymai village

Residents living in a village next to Khao Ang Rue Nai wildlife sanctuary are worried that they will be blamed for the recent death of a bull elephant, suspected of being electrocuted, and they are demanding concerned authorities to quickly find out the actual cause of the jumbo’s demise.

The bull elephant, aged about 20 and weighed about 3 tonnes, was found dead in a sugarcane plantation close to the wildlife sanctuary in Khao Kluaymai village, Tambon Klong Tapao, Tha Takiab district of Chachoengsao on July 18. Its trunk got entangled with a barbed wire of a fence which was connected to a 12-volt car battery.

The barbed wire fence was built around the sugarcane plantation and it was connected to a car battery as a deterrent against trespassing by elephants in search of food.

A team of Thai PBS reporter and cameramen visited Khao Kluaymai village on July 21 to talk to the villagers about how they felt about the elephant’s death and how the animal died.

Mr Chamnien Boonruang, the village’s assistant headman, said that no one in the village had wanted an elephant to die in their village and never before that an elephant was killed by electricity generated from a car battery.

He said that several villagers who have pineapple or sugarcane plantations usually connected their barbed wire with car batteries just to scare away elephants search for food because they knew that it was impossible to prevent the animals from foraging for food in their plantations.

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Boy killed by elephants in a fruit orchard in Narathiwat

An eight-year old boy was crushed to death by wild elephants apparently provoked by explosions of gunfires from villagers in their attempt to scare away the jumbos.

The incident took place in a fruit orchard close to a forest in Ban Aye Samor, Tambon Kok Sator, Rueso district of Narathiwat on Tuesday (July 18).

Local officials said that two adult elephants emerged from the jungle and broke into the fruit orchard in search of food. The two animals damaged several fruit trees, prompting villagers to rush to the scene with some of them firing their shot guns into the air, hoping to scare them away.

Instead of being scared away, the two elephants charged toward the villagers, forcing them to scatter in different directors.

Officials said that, accidentally at the time, a villager, Mr Masoreh Deemung was passing through the orchard, riding on a motorcycle with his wife and eight-year old son sitting on the pillion.

The elephants crashed into the motorbike and crushed the boy to death.

Policemen, troops and volunteers were later deployed to the village to monitor the two elephants to prevent them from hurting other villagers.

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Beehive fence stops attacks by hungry elephants

A farmer in Khaeng Hang Maew district of Chanthaburi province has finally found a humane way to keep the hungry jumbos away without harming them – a beehive fence.

CHANTHABURI, Kyodo News – After years of crop and house damage caused by wild elephants in Khaeng Hang Maew district of Chanthaburi province, a local farmer finally found a humane way to keep the hungry jumbos away without harming them – a beehive fence.

The idea of using beehive boxes to protect her crops and house still delights Dararat Sirimaha, a rubber tapper, who earlier achieved little success in preventing the elephants from rampaging through her farmlands.

She had to abandon large parts of her tapioca farm after it was destroyed by the elephants, eventually converting it into a rubber plantation early last year.

She also cut down her banana trees, which elephants feast on, but still remained hopeless.

Confrontation between the local residents and the elephants goes back a decade, but her patience ran out when the elephants attacked her house and injured her father one night.

"It was very scary when 10 elephants surrounded our house and roared," the 37-year-old farmer recalled.

Despite the community's efforts to scare the elephants away by setting off firecrackers, digging a canal and even building a concrete wall, nothing was able to stop the pachyderms from wiping out their crops.

On hearing about the great success of using bees to deter elephants in Africa from the village headman, Ms Dararat had no other alternative but to try the new measure.

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Thai elephant tramples man, runs off with tourists

Police say an elephant trampled its handler to death while two Russian tourists were riding it during a nature trek in southern Thailand.

Police Lt. Col. Narong Laksanawimol said Monday the animal attacked the trainer and ran off with the travelers — a mother and her 9-year-old daughter — near a waterfall in Phang Nga province.

Rescue teams had to track the elephant about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) and tranquilize it to rescue the tourists clinging to its back. Narong said the 60-year-old trainer had been crushed and drowned in a creek.

He said the male elephant had never attacked anyone since it was brought to work for a tourist company two years ago, adding that the animal was in musth, a state of aggressive sexual excitement.

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Olympic champ Tara has fun with elephants on her Thailand honeymoon

Olympic medallist figure-skater Tara Lipinski, who got married to TV producer Todd Kapostasy last week, is having a ball in Thailand on her honeymoon. She seems to have especially enjoyed her trip to the elephant sanctuary. She posted a series of pictures on Instagram from the Maldives to Thailand.

Recently, she posted this picture and captioned it: “Goodnight from Thailand! What an amazing day at the elephant sanctuary.

A place that really cares about the health and endurance of elephants. Oh and happy 4th of July! One of my favourite holidays.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Tour operator finds solution to elephant tourism

World Animal Protection (WAP) researchers last week announced findings that more than three quarters of the 3000 elephants they assessed were living in ‘severely cruel conditions.’

The researchers claim that an increased market for elephant tourism, including activities such as elephant rides, is fuelling elephant cruelty.

Oyster Worldwide agree with the WAP findings that elephants are being mistreated across the globe for entertainment, and want to raise awareness of ways in which travellers can interact with elephants in safe and ethical settings.

“Oyster Worldwide is pleased that WAP has managed to bring cruelty to animals to the mainstream news. It is incredibly important that travellers and tourists are aware of some of the cruelty that goes on behind the scenes,” Destination Manager Anne Smellie said.

The responsible projects provided by Oyster Worldwide include Thailand, Laos, South Africa and several other destinations, where travellers can work with elephants in a protected environment. These projects include either working with elephants who have been rescued from the cruel tourist trade or protecting elephants in the wild.

With a strict vetting criteria for each of the projects they work with, Oyster Worldwide work closely with their partners to ensure they maintain high standards.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Police Say They Made Progress in Ivory Trade Crackdown

Efforts by the government to curb sales of ivory have been successful following criticism of widespread trafficking in the country, police and conservationists said.

Police announced Friday that since January, officials have seized two elephant tusks and 422 tusk fragments in a single case, while in all of last year they seized 99 tusks and 22 fragments. Deputy Police Commissioner Gen. Chalermkiat Sriworakhan said the drop in the number of cases showed that strict enforcement had deterred traffickers.

“We have made serious efforts to block elephant ivory from being smuggled into the country and sent on to another country,” Chalermkiat said, referring to past smuggling schemes. Now, “if they do get in the country, we do not let them leave.”

Thailand had been considered to have the largest unregulated ivory market in the world before it introduced the Elephant Ivory Act in 2014 and 2015 to regulate the domestic ivory market and criminalize the sale of African elephant ivory.

“We have been able to effectively arrest more and more suspects with tangible results,” said Chalermkiat.

The wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC praised Thailand for a large drop in sales of ivory items. Its survey of Bangkok markets found a decline in the amount of ivory openly for sale from a high of 7,421 items in 2014 to 283 products in June 2016.

Measured over a slightly longer period of time, the drop was even more dramatic. In December 2013, the number of ivory items on sale was 14,512, according to earlier surveys by TRAFFIC.

“Thailand’s legal reforms have paved the way for greater control of the domestic ivory market and it’s certainly something other countries in the region should emulate, especially Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar,” Kanitha Krishnasamy, acting regional director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia, said in an email Friday.

“Further to these efforts, it’s important also to test products in the market to ensure that no African elephant ivory is in the marketplace.”

Poachers have killed tens of thousands of African elephants for their tusks to meet demand for ivory in Asia, putting the species at great risk. Thailand became a major transit hub and destination for smuggled tusks, which are often carved into tourist trinkets and ornaments. The biggest demand comes from China.

Krishnasamy said illegal online trade is another part of the problem affecting the country.

“Monitoring and enforcement of trade taking place online is extremely crucial to make sure that ivory items not on sale in the physical market haven’t moved online,” she said.

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Group finds Asia's performing elephants are treated harshly

An animal protection group wants tourists to know — that elephant you are thinking about riding during your vacation in Thailand is probably a miserable victim of abuse.

London-based World Animal Protection looked at almost 3,000 elephants working at entertainment venues in six Asian nations and found three out of four of the animals are living in poor and unacceptable conditions. It cited being chained day and night when not working, receiving inadequate diets and unsatisfactory veterinary care, as well as undergoing harsh initial training, "that breaks their spirits and makes them submissive enough to give rides and perform."

The group wants tourists to be aware and counsels tour agencies to shun abusive venues, among other measures. It says it has already convinced more than 160 travel companies to stop sales and promotion of venues offering elephant rides and shows.

 The report the group released Thursday is part of a broader campaign by World Animal Protection, which has also sought to expose the living conditions of other animals used to entertain, including tigers, macaques and bears.

 "If you can ride, hug or interact with wild animals, chances are there's cruelty involved," said Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, WAP's global wildlife and veterinary adviser and author of the elephant report.

 Wildlife tourist attractions, including wildlife entertainment, have become increasing popular and hence profitable, meaning the industry is likely to expand, the report warned.

 "The cruel trend of elephants used for rides and shows is growing," said Schmidt-Burbach. "We want tourists to know that many of these elephants are taken from their mothers as babies, forced to endure harsh training and suffer poor living conditions throughout their life."

 The group identified venues by looking at travel guidebooks and similar resources and by visiting tourist areas most likely to offer elephant attractions. It then sent researchers to each venue at least once to document the animals' situations. It found only 194 elephants at 13 venues to be living in acceptable conditions, the major criteria being that the animals do not perform and are not ridden by people.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Elephant smuggling dispute reaches DSI

Wildlife authorities have asked the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to probe the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace for allegedly smuggling elephants to Germany and keeping wild elephants.

At the DSI head office on Wednesday, Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn, an official of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace had been given approval to loan five female elephants to the Cologne Zoo for shows in 2006, but had not brought the
animals back since.

The operator also blocked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment from confiscating the six-million-baht guarantee it had placed for the temporary export of the elephants.

According to Mr Chaiwat, the female jumbos have given birth to three baby elephants, but the department was never informed. The issue amounts to a violation of the approval framework for the export of elephants and the smuggling of protected animals, Mr Chaiwat said. He believed elephant sperm from Thailand was delivered to Germany for artificial insemination. He also accused the operator of providing false information about the exported elephants.

Besides the export violations, Mr Chaiwat alleged the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace was keeping two elephants that did not match their pet elephant ID documents. He said wildlife protection officials had found the two elephants in Hua Hin district, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and suspected them of being captured wild elephants. They were later brought to the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace.

After officials arrived to check the elephants in Ayutthaya, the operator's owner, Laithongrien Meepan, threatened to bring elephants to a protest at Government House and seek the transfer of the conservation department's chief.

Mr Chaiwat said he asked the DSI to step in because his staff were unable to cope with the operator's "influence". Worranan Srilum, DSI's director for special case management, said DSI officials would quickly consider if the case was under the jurisdiction of the
DSI.

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Elephants rampage through Rayong fried-banana stall

The owner of a roadside stall in Rayong that sells kluay thod (fried bananas) arrived at work on Wednesday morning to find it destroyed and almost her entire stock of bananas pilfered.

People living nearby told her she was the victims of a gang of hungry elephants.

The neighbours had seen a herd of about 10 pachyderm perpetrators ransack the shop and gobble down nearly 200 kilograms of bananas.

Somjai Naphom, 45, could only fume amid the wreckage of her stall in front of Huay Thab Mon School in Moo 1 in Khao Chamao district’s Tambon Huay Thab Mon.

Somjai said she’d bought 200kg of banana to fry and sell and was left with only a few bunches.

Officials at adjoining Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park said they’d try to locate the elephant marauders and herd them deeper into the woods.

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

In Thailand, the dog attacked the elephants, injuring five people

In the Safari Park of Thailand on two elephants, barking was attacked by a dog. Scared animals ran from her, slipped on the ground and threw off four Chinese tourists along with a driver. The victims were taken to the hospital.

In Thailand on Phuket five people were injured riding on an elephant at the local Safari Park, reports the online edition of the Phuket News.

Family of Chinese tourists with two children accompanied by two drovers went for a walk. After 200 meters on the elephants barking was attacked by a dog. The animals got scared and ran away. Not holding the balance, they fell to the ground, throwing off tourists.

One driver received an injury to his back, all four travelers received severe bruises and cuts. The victims were taken to the hospital. The owner of the Park apologized to the tourists and promised to pay for the treatment.

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An elephant found dead, believed electrocuted, in banana orchard

A male elephant was found dead, believed to be electrocuted, in a banana orchard in Bo Rai district of Trat province on Thursday.

A team of police and forest officials who went to the banana orchard in Tambon Nong Bon found many fallen banana plants next to a dead elephant, aged between 10-15 years old.

They also found electric wire with its plastic cover peeled off, suggesting that the elephant might have been electrocuted.

The officials said they would have to wait for the arrival of a veterinarian to determine the real cause of the animal’s death.

It was reported that there are still 3-5 elephants foraging for food in the area.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Special forest taskforce urges DSI to probe alleged elephant cases

BANGKOK: -- Phaya Sua, the special forest crime suppression taskforce, has asked the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to investigate two alleged cases involving illegal elephant export and identity switching.

Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn, the head of the taskforce, on Wednesday morning submitted the request to DSI chief Pol Colonel Paisit Wongmuang via DSI deputy spokesman Pol Maj Woranan Srilam.

In the first case, Chaiwat accused a famous elephant camp in Ayutthaya province of allegedly sending five female elephants to a temporary exhibition at a German zoo in 2006, although the elephants have not returned.

He said the camp had paid Bt6 million as collateral and renewed permits on a yearly basis. However, it has been more than 11 years since they were taken out of the country and the camp refused to let the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry confiscate the collateral money.

The unit also found that three of the elephants got pregnant and gave birth but the camp failed to inform the DNP, which was a breach of the permit, he said.

Chaiwat said that there might also be a case of bringing elephant semen from Thailand for artificial insemination, which could be regarded as the smuggle and illegal export of a protected animal and a violation of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). He also alleged that the documents involved in transporting the elephants involved faulty declarations.

In the second case, the department found that two elephants, currently kept at Prachuap Khri Khan’s Hua Hin Tique, didn’t match the elephant identification cards’ description and DNA information and were suspected of being wild elephants being passed off as domesticated animals.

As the unit’s attempt to proceed with legal actions was met with the elephant camp owner’s threat of a protest at the Government House, Chaiwat urged the DSI to get involved in the case to file charges of having protected wildlife without permission, committing document forgery, threatening on-duty officers as well as lese majeste.

“The DNP’s power and workforce might not be enough to fight with the elephant camp owner who is an influential figure,” he said.

Woranan said he would pass the request regarding the two cases to the DSI Consumer Protection and Environment Case Office to see if it qualified for a DSI probe.

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Friday, July 07, 2017

Elephant camp owner faces lese majeste complaint

A lese majeste lawsuit was filed against the owner of elephant camp following an allegation that the owner negatively referred to the monarchy in a dispute with the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP).

Phraya Sue taskforce chief Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn yesterday filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division following a conflict with the DNP over the rules on transporting five elephants out of the country.

Chaiwat said the elephant camp asked permission from the DNP to transport five elephants to perform in a show in Europe in 2006 for one year.

However, it was later found that the camp did not return the elephants back to Thailand in time. The officers also found that the elephants might have been used for reproduction outside the country, which is illegal, so the DNP seized the Bt6 million deposit from the camp.

Chaiwat said the department addressed the issue at a press conference in February 24. He said he decided to file a complaint against the owner after he appeared at the event and referred to the monarchy in a bad way.

Crime Suppression Division Chief Pol Maj Gen Sutin Sappuang said he ordered investigators to question Chaiwat about the issue first before officers will accept this case.

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Trang’s working elephants tested for illegal classification

Ten elephants in Trang were tested on Monday as part of a programme aimed at preventing wild elephants from being misclassified as domestic so their tusks can be sold.

The illegal reclassification can also result in people being injured by wild elephants.

Veterinarians from the Surin-based National Institute of Elephant Research and Health Service and officials from other agencies conducted health checks on the 10 animals on the property of Suchat Buakerd in Bang Kung Moo 3 in Huai Yod district’s Tambon Bang Kung.

The elephants were treated for any ailments and blood was collected to be checked against a national pachyderm database.

The 10 elephants tested bring to 53 the number of elephants checked so far this year by the team in the southern province, home to 100 domesticated elephants.

Most of those animals, 70 per cent, are used to pull logs in timber operations within Trang, while the rest are employed in tourism and hauling rubber-tree timber in nearby provinces, said veterinarian Pattara Chuaplaivej, the institute’s director.

The checks are conducted annually in 11 southern provinces to prevent wild elephants being illegally identified as domesticated, thus curbing the ivory trade as well as elephant attacks on people and property.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Baby elephant trapped in deep hole rescued

A baby elephant trapped in a deep muddy hole inside Khao Soi Dao wildlife sanctuary in Chanthaburi is given water after being rescued from the hole on Thursday.

CHANTHABURI ­ A baby elephant trapped in a deep, muddy hole was rescued after a forestry patrol team heard the jumbo crying loudly at Khao Soi Dao wildlife sanctuary in Khao Khitchakut district's tambon Khlong Plu on Thursday.

The animal tried in vain to get free of the hole, but failed. The rescue team, using a gunnysack and a rope, took 50 minutes to pull it out.

The jumbo, weighing about 100kg and aged around one month, looked exhausted. The officials checked the animal’s health condition, gave it water and later let it walk toward its mother, anxiously waiting nearby.

During the rescue operation, the panicked mother was heard trumpeting not far away. The mother calmed down after the baby got free of the hole, officials said.

Vet Pattrapol Manee­on, of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said the hole was about 2m wide and 5m deep, according to Matichon Online.

The incident prompted department chief Thanya Nethithammakul to issue an urgent order asking all national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to survey areas prone to mudslides and flooding to prevent possible danger to tourists and wild animals.

There were reports that the hole had been dug by irrigation officials during a survey for the construction.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wild elephant kills domesticated elephant

SURAT THANI – A domesticated male elephant was found dead on Wednesday morning in a rubber plantation close to Tai Rom Yen National Park, apparently fatally gored by a wild bull elephant.

The 27 ­year ­old elephant had been taken there by his owner on Tuesday to haul rubber tree logs at the plantation on Plai Hon hill in tambon Ban Song of Wiang Sa district.

At the end of the day, he was chained to a tree for the night. On Wednesday morning the owner arrived back there and found the elephant was dead, with wounds that indicated he had been gored by an elephant's tusks.

Praphansak Chaipho, chief of Tai Rom Yen National Park, and police examined the body.
He said there were four or five wild elephants ranging the area for food on Tuesday night and it was likely they had attacked the chained elephant.

The national park covers three districts ­ Wiang Sa, Kanchanadit and Ban Na San. There are an estimated 60­70 wild elephants in the park. Two years ago, a 3­year­old wild elephant was killed in a fight with a large male.

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Baby elephant trapped in deep hole rescued

A baby elephant trapped in a deep muddy hole inside Khao Soi Dao wildlife sanctuary in Chanthaburi is given water after being rescued from the hole on Thursday. (National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conversation Department photo)

CHANTHABURI - A baby elephant trapped in a deep, muddy hole was rescued after a forestry patrol team heard the jumbo crying loudly at Khao Soi Dao wildlife sanctuary in Khao Khitchakut district's tambon Khlong Plu on Thursday.

The animal tried in vain to get free of the hole, but failed. The rescue team, using a gunnysack and a rope, took 50 minutes to pull it out.

The jumbo, weighing about 100kg and aged around one month, looked exhausted. The officials checked the animal’s health condition, gave it water and later let it walk toward its mother, anxiously waiting nearby.

During the rescue operation, the panicked mother was heard trumpeting not far away. The mother calmed down after the baby got free of the hole, officials said.

Vet Pattrapol Manee-on, of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said the hole was about 2m wide and 5m deep, according to Matichon Online.

The incident prompted department chief Thanya Nethithammakul to issue an urgent order asking all national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to survey areas prone to mudslides and flooding to prevent possible danger to tourists and wild animals.

There were reports that the hole had been dug by irrigation officials during a survey for the construction of a reservoir.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Four injured when van hit elephant

Rescue workers help the injured out of the van after it hit a wild elephant in Non Dindaeng district, Buri Ram, early Saturday morning.

BURI RAM ­ Four people were injured when their van hit a wild elephant on a highway in Non Dindaeng district early Saturday morning.

Police found the passengers trapped in the rented Toyota van on Highway 348 (Buri Ram­Ta Phraya) in tambon Lam Nang Rong at about 5am. Rescue workers helped them out of the vehicle and sent them to Non Dindaeng Hospital. They were safe.

They were identified as driver Phumchai Srisawat, 47, Miss Marisa Patipat, 54, Mrs Mayuree Traipho, 52, and Mrs Pawicha Boonjan, 54. All are natives of Chanthaburi's Muang district.

One of the passengers said that they had hired the van driver from Chanthaburi for a merit­making trip in Mukdahan province. While the van was on the highway in the early hours of Saturday, a wild elephant suddenly emerged to cross the road at a close range. Local forestry officials were looking for an injured elephant to arrange for treatment.

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Saturday, June 03, 2017

Celebrities are flocking to a new elephant sanctuary in Thailand

For animal lovers, finding travel experiences that provide ethical ways of interacting with animals poses a problem. Many of the activities that were once thought to be harmless fun can actually be harmful to the animals.

A new elephant sanctuary in Thailand might offer a solution.

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a 30-acre park and the first shelter of its kind in the city that gives elephants that have worked in entertainment or other forms of labor the chance to retire. They can roam the grounds freely during the day and rest in large shelters at night, The Independent reported.

Several celebrities, including the band Coldplay and Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad,” have made visits to the park, drawn in by its ethical practices.

British philanthropist and fashion executive, Louise Rogerson, started the sanctuary in 2015 after volunteering for several years with elephant projects in Thailand, according to the sanctuary’s website.

The first animals – including a 60-year-old female originally from a logging camp – arrived in August 2016, a according to The Phuket News. The sanctuary opened to visitors later that year.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Wild elephant flees injured after being struck by van

RAYONG: -- A wild elephant struck by a van transporting junior students along a Rayong road Friday morning might have been severely injured. It’s being tracked in Khao Wong National Park.

Police said the accident occurred at 6am on Kong Din Road in Klaeng district’s Tambon Kong Din.

Driver Witthaya Suwannarat, 25, was taking the students to Triam Suksa Na Yai Arm School in Chanthaburi, where he’s also a teacher.

He told police heavy rainfall obscured his view and he saw two elephants crossing the road too late to stop. He struck one of them in the hindquarters, briefly knocking it to its knees, but the animal rose again and fled into the adjacent national park.

Park chief Sophon Boonma said he would dispatch officials to track the elephant and attend to any injury.

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Brothers claim proof that Phuket camp has their stolen elephant

SURIN: -- After 14 years, two brothers who previously owned a female elephant named “Phang Yo” claim to have evidence of alleged elephant identity forgery and hope they can finally retrieve the animal from a Phuket-based elephant camp.

Phang Yo went missing in January 2003 when mahout Somsak Riang-ngern brought it to work at a Krabi-based elephant camp and tied it under a tree in a wooded area near the camp at night. The animal was gone in the morning.

Somsak and his elder brother Wan Riang-ngern earlier this year received a picture of an elephant with another name that was at the Phuket camp, which they recognized as Phang Yo, leading to their attempts to retrieve the animal. The elephant is believed to be about 50 years old.

The two brothers asked Tak officials for help to uncover evidence in Mae Ramad district suggesting the elephant, bearing the microchip number “121675455 A” and with an identity card describing scars on both hind legs, was indeed Phang Yo.

Wan also said the animal recognised him and his brother when they went to see it.

The brothers said the Phuket camp owner had turned down their previous request for the elephant to be returned, adding that unless the owner acquiesced in the face of the new evidence, they would file a police complaint for theft, receiving stolen assets and document forgery.

Thai-language media has previously reported that the Phuket camp owner had resisted returning the animal because it had been bought for Bt1.4 million.

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Friday, June 02, 2017

Experts call for legal approach to protection of elephants

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) held a seminar to seek a more comprehensive legal approach to protect Thailand’s elephants on Tuesday.

Wallop Tangkananurak, chairman of the NLA committee tasked with following up on animal protection mechanisms, said the seminar was the first move in a planned wider-scale cooperation to achieve success in the protection of pachyderms.

At the seminar, NLA members, experts from the National Institute of Elephant Research and Health Service, the Wildlife Conservation Officer at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums were invited to express their opinions and concerns on the elephant draft bill.

All speakers agreed that the priorities were the problem of street elephants and the threat from wild elephant to humans.

They urged the introduction of new laws to protect elephant-related businesses and mahouts, an overhaul of existing laws in order to comply with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, as well as the integration of relevant laws into a new elephant law that would ensure pachyderms continued to be known as Thailand’s national animal.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Baby elephant born at Pattaya’s Suan Nongnuch

After park staff had patiently waited and monitored 17-year-old pregnant elephant Pang Ploy for nearly a month, she finally gave birth to the park's 76th elephant at 6.30am. The happy event was recorded on video and a clip posted on Thai social media.

Plai Nammon –the fourth elephant born at the park in 40 years, was welcomed with a traditional blessing ritual performed by Wat Samakkheebanphot abbot Phra Khru Kasemkittisopon. The name Nammon means holy water.

Pang Ploy had mated with 35-year-old Plai Bird since July 6, 2015, and began to show signs of advanced pregnancy earlier this month.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Woman killed by wild elephants in Chachoengsao

CHACHOENGSAO: -- A woman was kicked and killed by wild elephants while she was tapping rubber trees in a plantation in Chachoengsao province on Tuesday, police said.

Rescuers managed to retrieve the body of Lamai Ngernprasert, 43, at 8pm after they sought help from troops to scare some 20 wild elephants away.

Police said the attack happened at 5pm inside the NY Rubber Company plantation in Moo 21 village in Tambon Tha Kradan of Chachoengsao’s Sanam Chaikhet district.

Lamai was a worker at the plantation.

Co-workers told police that they heard Lamai crying out for help and saw her surrounded by the elephants.

The authorities said the elephants came from the Khao Ang Rua Wildlife Sanctuary about five kilometres away.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Phuket elephant camp accused of refusing to return stolen elephant

An elephant camp in Phuket stands accused of refusing to return a female elephant that the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office (PPLO) confirmed on Friday belongs to another person.

Livestock officers checked the microchip on an elephant at the Amazing Bukit Elephant Camp on Chao Fa 69 Road in Chalong and confirmed that the animal is registered as “Yo” from Surin Province, and not called “Nampetch” as claimed by the elephant camp.

The officers confirmed that the microchip matches the registration documents for “Yo,”
who was stolen while working in Krabi province in 2003.

Surajit Witchuwan of the PPLO said, “We checked the microchip in the elephant and found it is for the elephant called “Yo.”

“In addition, a description of marks on Yo’s legs are the same as on this elephant at the Amazing Bukit Elephant Camp.

“Our part of the job is now done, it is now down to the police to resolve this matter,” he said.

However, the owner of the elephant camp has refused to return the elephant to its rightful owner, Chorp Reangngern, 58, whose relatives have now taken the matter to the Ombudsman’s office at Phuket Provincial Hall.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Tourists Warned Of Aggressive Elephants At Khao Yai National Park

Security has been increased for tourists at Khao Yai National Park to safeguard them from wild elephants, as several aggressive male bulls are in heat for mating.

Park official Somchat Saeli, said on Friday that Plai Junior, a 20-30 year old male elephant that is in heat has roamed out of forest for three days now, and has been seen wandering around Thung Pong Kwang meadow near Sai Sorn reservorr in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district.

Park officials have been patrolling the road that cuts through the park in Prachin Buri and Nakhon Ratchasima to look for wild elephants and advise tourists on how to observe the wildlife safely.

Somchat said park officials have put up warning signs in Thai and English to advise tourists what to do if they encounter a wild elephant while driving. They should stop their car at least 300 metres away from the elephant and, if the animal moves towards them, they should slowly reverse the vehicle and pull over at a safe distance until the elephant goes away.

He said visitors must not use flash photography to take pictures, must not use the car horn or make any loud noises to spook the animal and they must keep the car engine running at all times.

If visitors encounter an elephant after dark, the driver must use low headlights, he said. If they find themselves surrounded by elephants, they must remain calm and try to find a route with fewer animals blocking their path and leave as fast as possible.

“You can observe the elephant’s mood easily. If it is in a good mood, it will shake its ears and its tail. If it is in a bad mood, its ears will not shake, its tail will point upward and its trunk will look stiff and still,” he said.

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UN woman killed by elephant after herd charges noisy bike

A woman refugee worker died after being kicked by an elephant while on her way home to celebrate Songkran on Friday.

Wansa Khiriarchadai, 26, an employee of the UNHCR shelter in Thasong Yang district in Tak, was attacked by the tusker while she rode on a motorcycle driven by her husband on the way to Mae Sot.

The husband, Boontham Chokthammakan, 31, told police that as they travelled along a road through Khun Khao Pawor National Park in Mae Ramat district, they encountered a herd of six elephants.

The elephants, startled by the sound of the motorcycle, then charged them. Boontham said he stopped and ran, but his wife, who ran in another direction, fell and was kicked by an elephant.

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Monday, May 01, 2017

New twist in Phuket elephant ownership battle

PHUKET: The battle for ownership rights of a female elephant at a Phuket safari camp has taken another twist with the camp now presenting to police a registration document for the same elephant, but with a different name.

The new registration document, presented by Amazing Bukit Safari Camp in Chalong to Ao Nang Police Deputy Chief Lt Col Winai Poonsawat yesterday (April 3) now names the elephant as “Srinuan”.

When initially defending its claim to the elephant, the camp’s owner presented registration documents showing the elephant’s name was “Nampetch”.

In short, the camp has now presented two sets of registration documents for the same elephant, with the same registration information, including the same microchip number – but for elephants with different names.

While the new registration document presented for “Srinuan” features all the same registration information as the documents initially presented for “Nampetch”, the camp has so far not offered any explanation for – or documentary evidence recognising – the name change.

However, the camp still maintains it bought the elephant for B1.4 million in February from Raewat Chernkaew, 54, from Trang province.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Khao Yai takes action against visitors who taunt elephant Please credit and share this article with others using this link:http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1226931/khao-yai-takes-action-against-visitors-who-taunt-elephant

Wild elephants are frequently seen on the roads leading to Khao Yai National Park. Khao Yai National Park has filed a police complaint against a car owner seen on video taunting a wild elephant into chasing his vehicle.

Park chief Kanchit Srinoppawan said on Tuesday that authorities had examined a video clip posted on the @togetherisone Facebook account on Monday and concluded that the Camry sedan driver in the footage had intentionally challenged an elephant walking on a park road to chase his car, just for fun.

A wild elephant approached the car, which stops to take a video in Khao Yai National Park. (Photo from @togetherisone Facebook account) "It can't run faster than my Camry," the driver says and laughs in the two ­minute video, as a woman in the car films an elephant coming towards them. "It never catches up with me," the driver said. "It's fun, it's fun."

The clip also shows the car stopping twice waiting for the elephant to come closer. It is not clear when it happened, The clip drew negative comments from viewers. Mr Kanchit said the park filed a complaint against the driver, based on the clip, at Moo Si Police Station in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima on Tuesday.

To read the full article, click on the story title




Elephants on the Road in Thailand National Park

Elephants are portrayed as sweet and lovely, and maybe a bit clumsy. Perhaps this image is the result of the stories for children – like the “The Jungle Book” or “Dumbo”, where elephants where shown as friendly. The elephants in the zoo or circus are domesticated by trainers and zookeepers, and are quite peaceful. But make no mistake – an agitated elephant can be the most dangerous animal in the world.

Every year elephants are responsible for around 500 deaths. Many of the deaths caused by elephants are attributed to younger male elephants who are wild and more aggressive. As Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell, a biologist at Stanford University said, “I do think that elephants are becoming more aggressive towards humans in very compressed areas where they are being shot at and harassed.”

Having a driving route through a park where elephants live is probably one of the factors that makes these creatures feel harassed. Also, during the mating season the male elephants may be stressed due to fighting and competition. That is why from time to time in the Khao Yai National Park in Thailand we can witness elephants attacking cars.

In such moment the best is to maintain a distance of at least 30 meters from the elephant, don’t honk the horn or make any noise and always keep the car engine on so as to turn back in time if the elephant walks closer. Easier said than done though… We can see what happens when such frightening encounter happens.

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Stick test 'shows elephants have rare level of self-understanding' and body awareness

ELEPHANTS have provided further evidence of their intelligence and self-awareness in an experiment involving a stick tied to a mat.

Researchers required Asian elephants to walk on to a mat, pick up a stick and pass it to an experimenter in exchange for a food reward.

In control conditions the sticks were loose, but for the experiment the sticks were tied to the mat - meaning the elephant's body weight prevented them passing the stick to the researcher unless they walked off the mat.

The University of Cambridge study found that elephants stepped off the mat on average 42 out of 48 times during the experiment, compared with three out of 48 during the control.

Researchers said this shows elephants are able to recognise their bodies as obstacles to success in problem-solving.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Sunday, April 30, 2017

University student teaches English and cares for abused elephants in Thailand

In August 2016, Olivia Soan travelled to Northern Thailand to undertake a two-week volunteer placement. She was supported by a £220 Individual Grant for Volunteering from the Jack Petchey Foundation, which helped to cover the individual costs of her volunteer work. She raised the rest of the £3000 herself, with 50% of the money going to the Future Sense Foundation, who she volunteered with.

The first week of her volunteer work took her to northern Thailand, in a hill tribe village school called Hak Mai Tai. Olivia and her team spent each morning renovating two of the big classrooms for the children in the upper school, which gave the students a welcoming learning space that they could feel proud of. In the afternoons, she taught English to two classes of children aged 7-8 and 9-10. Olivia recalled how enthusiastic and happy the children were to learn and how heart-warming the positivity of everyone in the village was. She said “I think the teaching, along with having a happy and colourful learning environment, encourages the children to go to school and build on their dreams for when they finish school.”

The second week of the trip was spent at an Elephant Nature Park. The 69 elephants currently being cared for there had been rescued from trades such as street begging, the circus, logging and riding, which had left many of the elephants there orphaned, blinded or disabled. Olivia helped with the general running of the sanctuary; cleaning the elephant’s paddocks, feeding them and bathing them. Olivia said that although it was hard work, “each day here was inspiring” and that “being nuzzled by the trunk of an inquisitor whilst you are [working] makes it all worthwhile.”

The work that Olivia carried out at the elephant nature park was vital, as the volunteer programme is what keeps the rehabilitation centre running through thanks to their funding and volunteer work.

Olivia said of her volunteer placement; “This project was an absolutely incredible experience. One of the biggest things that I learnt from this trip was to not take anything for granted, and appreciate everything I’ve got because there are many people in the world who are less fortunate than I am, but still with a great smile on their faces.”

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Tourists Warned Of Aggressive Elephants At Khao Yai National Park

Security has been increased for tourists at Khao Yai National Park to safeguard them from wild elephants, as several aggressive male bulls are in heat for mating.

Park official Somchat Saeli, said on Friday that Plai Junior, a 20-30 year old male elephant that is in heat has roamed out of forest for three days now, and has been seen wandering around Thung Pong Kwang meadow near Sai Sorn reservorr in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district.

Park officials have been patrolling the road that cuts through the park in Prachin Buri and Nakhon Ratchasima to look for wild elephants and advise tourists on how to observe the wildlife safely.

Somchat said park officials have put up warning signs in Thai and English to advise tourists what to do if they encounter a wild elephant while driving. They should stop their car at least 300 metres away from the elephant and, if the animal moves towards them, they should slowly reverse the vehicle and pull over at a safe distance until the elephant goes away.

He said visitors must not use flash photography to take pictures, must not use the car horn or make any loud noises to spook the animal and they must keep the car engine running at all times.

If visitors encounter an elephant after dark, the driver must use low headlights, he said. If they find themselves surrounded by elephants, they must remain calm and try to find a route with fewer animals blocking their path and leave as fast as possible.

“You can observe the elephant’s mood easily. If it is in a good mood, it will shake its ears and its tail. If it is in a bad mood, its ears will not shake, its tail will point upward and its trunk will look stiff and still,” he said.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Elephants soak passers-by ahead of boisterous Thai holiday

AYUTTHAYA, Thailand — Trained elephants sprayed motorists and passers-by with water in Thailand's old capital city of Ayutthaya on Tuesday to welcome in the Buddhist New Year, known as "Songkran."

The jumbos from an elephant camp in the old capital Ayutthaya were brought out to rake passing traffic, soak passengers in open vehicles and spray anyone foolish or brave enough to venture within range.

The holiday, the longest in the Thai calendar, starts later this week and runs officially for three days. Cities empty out as workers head home to see family and celebrate by cleansing images of the Buddha, washing the hands and feet of elders, and throwing water on each other in what is sometimes called the world's biggest water-fight.

The festival -- which is also celebrated in neighbouring Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos -- falls at the hottest time of the year, when temperatures often creep above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Sunday, April 09, 2017

Elephant foundation in critical need of aid

The Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) says it may have to close if it does not receive financial support soon.

Secretary ­general Soraida Salwala said the FAE is a Thai ­registered foundation that has looked after the welfare of more than 4,600 elephants in Thailand for more than two decades. It is now facing its worst financial crunch in its history.

It is best known for producing an artificial leg for the wounded elephant Motala (above) in 2006, but it has helped countless elephants before and since.

"We need financial support from both the government and the private sector to survive," said Ms Soraida, who is also the founder.

She said the foundation, set up in 1993, has encountered financial problems for more than 11 years due to falling donations.

However, she said she has put in considerable effort to maintain a normal situation until she realised she had to reveal the truth about the foundation's financial difficulties to the public.

"We don't want to create any burden as people are suffering during the economic slowdown.
"But we need help, or we will have to close.''

Ms Soraida said she had earlier asked the government for assistance in setting up an elephant fund to support any foundation that is working with and helping elephants. Up until now, she has not yet heard any response, she added.

To read the full article, click on the story title


Friday, April 07, 2017

Food Gatherer Stomped To Death By Elephants

CHACHOENGSAO -- A villager was trampled to death by wild elephants while collecting wild produce with a friend in dense forest near the Khao Ang Ruenai Wildlife Sanctuary in Sanam Chaikhet district on Monday afternoon, police said.

The incident occurred about 4.30pm, according to police.

While they were foraging in the forest a herd of wild elephants suddenly appeared and charged at them. They fled for their lives, but only one of them emerged alive from the forest. The survivor reported to the village headman that his friend was missing.

A search party comprising police, wildlife sanctuary officials and about 30 rescue volunteers walked 2-3 kilometres into the forest from Ban Nayao in tambon Tha Kradan.

After searching for more than an hour near the Khao Ang Ruenai Wildlife Sanctuary they found Chalee Sophakul, 45. He had been stomped to death by the elephants.

Chalee's body was taken out of the forest to Ban Nayao about 9pm.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Farm-raiding wild elephants moved to national park

One of the tranquilised wild elephants is prodded and pulled toward a large truck, which then carried him to Bang Lang National Park in Betong district of Yala, where he was released, in Narathiwat province on Monday.

NARATHIWAT -- Two wild elephants that have been raiding village crops for 5 months were finally moved to a national park in an 11 hour operation overnight involving 500 people.

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Phuket elephants DNA tested to curtail trafficking

Officials from the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) took DNA samples from 67 elephants yesterday, including those that perform at the Phuket FantaSea attraction in Kamala, as part of a drive to crackdown on elephants trafficked onto the island.

There are currently 222 elephants registered at 23 camps in Phuket, said Supot Praedpring, Director of the DNP regional office in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

“Today we checked four elephant camps with 32 elephants all used by Phuket FantaSea as well as 20 elephants at Pang Chang Hai elephant camp, 13 elephants at Kalim elephant camp, and two elephants at Tritrang elephant camp,” Supot said.

The DNA tests are part of a five-day campaign that began yesterday  to confirm the identities of all registered elephants on the island, including those used at tourist attractions and jungle-trekking tours, he explained.

The DNP teams, assisted Department of Livestock and Department of Provincial Administration officials, are checking identification certificates and microchip implants.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Thai your hand as an elephant rescuer... The rise of 'responsible' travel experiences - with no riding allowed

In the wake of the death last October of the Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the year of mourning has clipped the wings of Thailand’s beach party lovers, and the backpacker crowd are heading elsewhere.

Maybe Thailand should use this as a chance to promote some of its lesser-known attractions.

A glance at Trip Advisor finds the Lanta Animal Welfare Centre at number three in the top ten list of things to do - ahead of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Sukhothai Historical Park.

Here visitors get to interact with animals. However, they are not exotic animals - but cats and dogs.

Lanta rescues abandoned animals from all over Thailand and, to help pay for their rehabilitation, welcomes visitors who are given tours by volunteers.

Taking a dog for a run on the beach or cuddling up with cats (the centre has more than 50 cats and kittens) can make a holiday.

Visitors are also invited to help with daily tasks from grooming the animals to gardening.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Thai Elephant Day Celebrated on March 13

March 13 saw the celebration of the Thai Elephant Day, started 18 years ago to help spread awareness and promote preservation of the Asian elephant in Thailand.

Maesa elephant camp, among others held events and celebrated the Thai Elephant Day. Vice Governor of Chiang Mai, Prachuap Kanthiya, also hosted the event.

A Lanna ceremony, with elephant drawing and hill tribe displays were also found, along with a special exhibition about elephants in Chiang Mai Zoo.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Elephant protest in Bangkok cancelled

100 elephants in Bangkok on Monday to protest against an elephant identity investigation by wildlife protection authorities, saying they do not want to disrupt traffic. Laithongrien Meepan, owner of the of the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace, said he and other elephant keepers in other provinces would not rally at Government House on Monday, which is also National Elephant Day.

Government authorities earlier asked them not to rally in Bangkok as it would cause traffic chaos, he said on Saturday. However, the keepers are continuing to call for an investigation of Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn, who is leading a team from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to check the identities of pet elephants nationwide. Mr Laithongrien says the investigation amounts to an abuse of authority. Representatives of kraal owners have sent their complaints to the prime minister via the Interior Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office, he said.

Mr Laithongrien began mobilising opposition to the screening after three of his elephants were impounded on suspicion of false identification. The team headed by Chaiwat was preparing a case for legal action. It seized the three elephants -- aged 5, 9 and 27 years -- because checks of DNA samples taken last year did not match those taken two years previously.

Mr Laithongrien insisted the three elephants had been born in captivity and had not been taken in the wild. He accused the department of conducting substandard DNA testing after the lab determined the
the DNA from the animals did not match ID cards issued by the Interior Ministry.

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