Saturday, March 30, 2019

Cheers as six baby elephants, trapped in mudhole, are rescued by rangers in Thailand

Six baby elephants, trapped in a mud hole and separated from their parents, have been rescued by a team of park rangers in northeastern Thailand.

The rangers came across the elephant calves on Wednesday afternoon as they were struggling to climb the pit’s slippery banks, according to officials of Thap Lan National Park.

Some of the rangers went for help, while others spent the night with the baby elephants.

On Thursday, as the elephants wallowed together at one side of the pit, rangers at the other side spent four hours using hoes and pickaxes to dig out enough mud to form a ramp.

Captive elephants given second chance in Myanmar sanctuary plan

Video of the great elephant escape released by the Department of National Parks shows the animals climbing out of the muck and quickly heading into the forest, a few dozen metres away.

The rangers cheer the elephants on, with comments like “Go, go on, child!”

One elephant struggles, slips and falls, but finally all make it out of the muck.

The last of the animals then lingers, after all the others have made it past the tree line. It faces the rangers for a moment, turns, pauses and finally runs into the jungle.

Jail for Chinese ‘Ivory Queen’. Her network killed ‘thousands of elephants’

“Gone, they’re gone,” cries a ranger, as the rescue crew comes together to celebrate.

Park chief Prawatsart Chantep said there were signs that a herd of elephants believed to be related to the trapped infants was circling the area.

Blood of 3,000 elephants, 65,000 pangolins on Hong Kong’s hands

Elephants are the official national animal of Thailand, and for a time graced the country’s flag when it was still called Siam.

Development has sharply reduced their natural habitat and shrunk their numbers. They are notorious for raiding farmers’ fields for food, especially sugar cane.

Record ivory haul: what 500 dead elephants looks like

Several people are killed each year by angry elephants. Last November, a driver on a road near another park in the northeast struck the hind legs of one when it wandered out of the jungle at dusk. The animal responded by stomping on the car, destroying the engine and killing the driver.

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Vidyut Jammwal celebrated Holi with Elephants

This Holi was indeed special for Junglee star Vidyut Jammwal as he celebrated the festival of colors with the Elephants at Haathi Gaon in Jaipur. He spent his day bonding with elephants, lovingly applying gulal to their foreheads, wading into ponds on elephant-back and being sprayed endlessly by his bearer with pond water.

Vidyut shares, “One of the things that was running in my head when I was on top of the elephant was that we need to do this more in our country. We had to shoot our movie Junglee in Thailand but spending by day here, playing Holi with them, I felt so good that I am doing this in my country. I felt so good that people will know about this place where they can come and really enjoy with elephants.”

And as you plan a fun today, Vidyut shares, “With the elephants, I was always having a lot of fun. But it always came to being respectful of what they wanted, how they felt about me being around. I couldn’t cross any lines with them. That’s exactly how you should play your Holi too.” Junglee releases on 29th March 2019.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Video: Popular elephant who "took bribes" dies after suffering tail infection

A popular and clever wild elephant who featured on a YouTube video has died.

"Duan Dan Loi" was often seen on Route 3076 passing through the Khao Ang Rue Wildlife Sanctuary in Chachoengsao province.

People joked that he used to take bribes for trucks to pass his territory as he was often seen pinching a bit of sugar cane or other produce.

Some driver even stopped to toss him some snacks though the rangers advised against this.

Unfortunately Daily News reported that Duan has just died.

He suffered an infection in his tail that fell off. The infection spread and resulted in his death.

Netizens mourned the passing of a popular and clever elephant, reported the media.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

To ethically interact with elephants10 places you need to go

Interacting with elephants is a signature experience of visiting Asia. What most tourists don't realize, though, is that every single elephant who gives rides, paints pictures or performs in a show has been physically and emotionally abused in ways you can never unsee once you've been shown.

To get a sense of what that entails - grab tissues because you're going to learn about the crush box - watch Love and Bananas, a powerful documentary that should be required viewing. It follows the rescue of a 70-year-old, partially blind trekking elephant by Sangdeaun Lek Chailert, who was named Time magazine's Hero of Asia, and who founded Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thai tycoon found guilty for poaching but freed ahead of appeal

The head of one of Thailand's largest construction firms has been sentenced to 16 months in jail on three poaching charges but is free pending an appeal.

Premchai Karnasuta was caught with hunting gear and animal carcasses, including a black panther, in a protected sanctuary in February 2018.

Three of his employees, but not Premchai, were found guilty on Tuesday of possessing the panther carcass.

The case had sparked an outcry over the impunity of the rich and powerful.

Premchai is head of Italian-Thai Development, a Bangkok-based firm that helped build the capital's Suvarnabhumi airport and Skytrain rail link.

The high-profile case has been closely followed in Thailand, where convictions for poaching happen often but rarely when it comes to prominent people.

What happened in court?

The 64-year-old was found guilty of possessing the carcass of a Kalij pheasant and firearms in public areas, and supporting others to hunt in a protected wildlife sanctuary.

His cook and driver were given lesser sentences, while his hunting guide was the only one found guilty of hunting and was sentenced to three years and five months.

Premchai was granted bail of 400,000 baht (£9,500, $12,600) as the court did not consider him a flight risk.

What happened last year?

Park rangers arrested the construction magnate after finding him and three others camped at Thungyai Naresuan national park.

The men were found with three rifles, 143 bullets and other hunting tools, and a slain black panther, Kalij pheasant and barking deer - all protected species under Thai conservation law.

The wildlife sanctuary in western Thailand is home to wild elephants, tigers and many endangered species, according to Thailand's Wildlife Friends Foundation.

What is the reaction?

Local wildlife groups praised the authorities for detaining the four men last year.

Striking images of the skinned black panther went viral and inspired protests and graffiti across Bangkok calling for an investigation.

Some political parties have even used the photos in their campaigning ahead of Sunday's general election, vowing for an improved justice system.

"Justice is meted out unequally," Steve Galster of wildlife organisation Freeland Foundation told news agency AFP.

"The main thing is this is a public shaming [for Premchai]," he said, adding he hopes the court "will stick with the decision" after his appeal.

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Official inspects elephant camps after Big Buddha complaint

PHUKET: The Acting Chief of the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office has acted on a complaint sent to The Phuket News by a reader about a very young elephant being used to make money from tourists at the side of the road that leads to Big Buddha.

Manas Thepparuk went to inspect the area after being made aware of the complaint that the 1.5-year-old baby elephant looked distressed and dehydrated.

Mr Manas told The Phuket News, “On Wednesday (Mar 13) I went to inspect two different elephant camps on the road to Big Buddha. The first was ATV Seaview and the second, Phra Yai Chang Thai, both located at Moo 10 in Chalong.”

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Monday, March 18, 2019

Wildlife Officials Launch Project to Rid Thailand of Elephant Trapping

CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation launched a project called “Free Wild Trap Zone” Wednesday to clear harmful hunting devices after five elephants were maimed.

“We have to survey national parks to understand why such devices are planted there,” Kanchana Nittaya, director of the Wildlife Conservation Office, said at an event marking Thai Elephant Day.

“When we know more information, we can come up with proper measures and we will find which areas are high risk.”

The cabinet agreed on May 26, 1998 to designate March 13 as Thai Elephant Day (Chang Thai Day) to raise awareness about the animal’s importance to Thai society.

There are an estimated 3,000 wild elephants in the kingdom.

Under the campaign, officials will survey traps and raise awareness with local villagers. Hunting is already banned in national parks. The survey will take one week to complete.

As elephants have begun wandering into local communities, sparking conflicts with residents, officials fret about their well being.

Some 149 wild traps made of steel with sharp claws were found planted at Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary in mid-February.

Located in the lower East, this lush forest complex is known as the largest habitat for wild elephants with some 400 living there.

“Hunters usually place the trap to catch wild animals and elephants are among the victims,” Ms Kanchana said.

Since last November at least five elephants have been injured by the “cruel hunting devices,” she added.

“This device is highly destructive. It can kill or maim wild animals because the steel claws are designed to tighten and sink deeper under the skin when animals try to escape,” she said, adding many animals die from infected wounds.

The department cited the case of a two-month-old calf that lost one of her legs after being freed from such a trap in October 2016.

Vets came to help, but the calf can no longer return to the jungle because she has been abandoned by her herd.

Experts said she could not survive alone in the wilderness due to her young age and other factors.

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Stand up to Help Elephants getting Abused in Thailand

Elephants are getting abused and tortured daily. They are beaten brutally with bullhooks and bamboo sticks. They are beat nearly to death so tourists can ride them and watch them do human things such as paint, play football, and other things animals should not be forced to do. Elephants are endangered as is so we need to do something about it, now before we're too late. We can help to end it though. To save the elephants. If we all mark out "riding an elephant in Thailand" off our bucketlist, we can end this brutal cycle now.

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BACKGROUNDER: Wildlife forensics leaps in criminal justice process


As there are rarely any witnesses to the crimes, wildlife forensics in recent years has played an increasing role in resolving wildlife crimes in Thai forests.

Since forensic investigation in such instances first came into play in the elephant killing cases in Thailand’s largest national park of Kaeng Krachan in early 2010s, wildlife forensics has been applied extensively, especially during the investigation, of which its results are used to accompany police investigation files to be submitted for prosecution.

The notable black leopard case awaits a court verdict on Tuesday.

“Since wildlife crimes take place largely out of sight, wildlife forensics becomes a significant jigzaw in solving them. The evidence obtained at the scene might be the only thing that helps tell the story,” said Pol General Jarumporn Suramanee, who helped pioneer the knowledge in Thailand.

“In fact, evidence is more reliable, compared with witnesses, whose words can be reversed due to fears, or other drives. More critically, the victims of wildlife crimes can’t speak, and that’s why we need the evidence to speak for them.”

According to Jarumporn, a member of an ad-hoc panel of the National Wildlife Protection and Preservation Committee appointed to follow up on the black leopard case resurfaced early last year, wildlife forensics follows the same tenets as those used in human crimes.

Jarumporn who previously served as commissioner of the Office of Police Forensic Science and an adviser to the Royal Thai Police Bureau, said wildlife forensics started with a crime scene investigation or CSI to see what happened, and how. All related evidence would then be collected to help establish who comitted the crime.

“Forensic evidence helps explain how the story happened-the “modus operandi” or method of operation. This will lead to the motivations, and then to the culprits.”

Jarumporn’s first foray into wildlife forensics was in the case of two elephants found slained, with one of them having its penis and tusks removed.

Gunshot wounds to the animal’s front skull were examined, ballistic tests were conducted, and the elephant carcass was unearthed and x-rayed before AK-47 bullets were found. Reconstructing the event, investigators realised the fatal shots came not from above, but straight on.

Jarumporn then zeroed in on the most probable assumption, with minority groups using AK-47s nearby being identified. Arrests followed. 

The same approach was applied in late 2012 in the same national park, in a case involving hunting for sport. Jarumporn led the forensics team that tracked down the wrongdoers, among them a senior police officer.

Last year it was a high-profile construction tycoon who was accused of hunting for sport – Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development Plc.

On February 4, 2018, rangers found Premchai and three companions camped in the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, in a no-hunting zone. Arrest records allude to “suspicious and threat-posing activities”.

The rangers led by Thung Yai chief Wichian Chinwong seized weapons, ammunition and animal carcasses, including that of a black leopard skinned to the bone.

Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn, a former chief of Kaeng Krachan National Park and the National Parks Department’s Phaya Sua taskforce then joined the crime-scene investigation, gathering more evidence.

Forensics officers from Police Regional 7 Office intensified the inspection, collecting still more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.

Jarumporn said they all fit together.

The Region 7 police ran forensics and ballistics tests on the leopard’s hide and other remains and tracked the trajectories of the fatal bullets.

There were eight wounds to the big cat’s forehead, right ear and torso, with the trajectories indicating the shots came from above, and the front to the back – all probably from a shotgun.

The weapons seized at the scene were all documented as belonging to Premchai and he admitted as such when apprehended.

On February 13, the investigator team led a reconstruction of the crime, this time following trajectories from the bullet shells collected at the roadside to the points where the bullets made impacts– two in tree bark and two on the surface of a rock in stream.

They found a lump of black fur and bloodstains where the rangers had collected pieces of the leopard’s organs, likely indicating the spot where the animal was skinned. A further search turned up two leg bones in the stream and a piece of the leopard’s colon.

An examination of Premchai’s pickup truck was prompted by suspicions the gunshots had originated there.

On March 1, the investigator team reviewed the findings on bullet trajectories to try and nail down the exact origins of the shots. The team could not find a match with any previously suspected location.

Re-examining the traces in the trees and marks left in the rock, investigators concluded they were from the same bullets that killed the animal, but they could not identify the exact type of bullet.

Even amid these setbacks, there was no loss of determination.

Blood and tissue from the leopard and other animals killed at the site were sent to the National Parks Department’s forensics lab, where DNA – believed to “never be wrong” – might yet establish the truth.

“DNA is tremendously specific and cannot be wrong,” said Kanita Ouithavon, chief of the Wildlife Forensic Science Unit. “These are not just samples but ‘evidence’ that’s admissible in court.”

Her team has primarily tried to determine what kind of the animals they were, and whether they are protected species.

In the case of the black leopard, they needed to prove whether the flesh and blood recovered at the site all belonged to the same animal.

The lab tests confirmed that it did, and other samples came from wild birds. It was a proof that the animal meat found onsite wasn’t brought there from elsewhere, as has been speculated early on.

With such straightforewardness of the knowledge, Kanita and her team members have been placed among key witnesses in wildlife cases.

The latest case they’re working on involves the killing of a bearcat in Sai Yok National Park in Kanchanaburi, under which the deputy chief of Makham Tia district is a suspect in this slaying.

Chaiwat himself had said the evidence in the black leopard case was strong, and any related records of the case should be based on such wildlife forensics.

Premchai and his companions were indicted on April 30 on different charges. Premchai faces six charges, from poaching of a protected species and in a wildlife sanctuary, and possessing wildlife carcasses, covering them, to collecting wild products and carrying weapons in public.

The Thong Pha Phum Criminal Court started a trial in late November and the last of the defence witnesses testified in mid-December.

It sets to rule the case this Tuesday.
Deputy National Police chief Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, who is overseeing the investigation, said on Thursday he was confident justice would be done.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Suspects arrested on Koh Phi Phi – Attack on 25 year old US tourist

Krabi Police say that they have a second of three young men who attacked an American tourist on Koh Phi Phi back on on March 9.

But they are trying to locate 25 year old tourist Stephen Trimble who is now believed to be on Koh Phangan. They want him to give evidence so that they can determine if the alleged attackers were also involved in the theft on the beach.

Here’s the original story about the attack HERE.

Stephen, a photographer and blogger from Florida in the US, had put pictures of himself on his Instagram account saying that he had tried to help a woman who had her things stolen while out swimming. He was then attacked by three men. The photos showed some of the wounds he received in the attack.

Daily News reports that the chief of the Krabi provincial police had convened a meeting and visited the island. He confirmed that the tourist had been drunk and was advised to come back and report the incident the next day by Koh Phi Phi police.

Stephen never returned the following day to make a formal report and they tried to locate him but he had already moved on to Koh Phangan.

CCTV has revealed Stephen with a bandage on his left knee and a backpack on his front.

Police say the three men in custody were all between 17-20 years old. Koh Phi Phi’s Police say that one more suspect is now in custody.

The Koh Phangan police are trying to locate Stephen Trimble so that he can help identify the young men arrested and say if they carried out the theft as well.

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Two young men's fight for elephant protection

Two young Chinese men are on a mission to protect elephants.

One of them is Zhang Chaodao, the director of a documentary revealing the inhumane training and treatment of elephants in Thailand. Zhang said he will never forget the sight and sounds that he experienced during one encounter in the Southeast Asian country.

"Suddenly, the elephant didn't want to go," he said. "The mahout again used his ankus to hook the elephant. Then we heard the sound of the elephant skin ripped apart, with his ankus. Then this elephant suddenly started going crazy. It has the sound that we could never imagine in our lives."

The Shanghai video maker is the producer of a 9-minute documentary called "Black Elephant" in Thailand.

Zhang said, "Thailand is the biggest tourist spot for Chinese people. A lot of Chinese people go there, and on their bucket lists, the first thing is riding elephants or watching an elephant show. I would like more Chinese people to see what's going on."

The documentary has been viewed online millions of times since its release in 2017. He urges travelers to stop riding elephants and watching elephant shows, and go to elephant sanctuaries instead and travel more responsibly.

"As a consumer, you change what you buy, you choose what you buy, with this change, you also change the system little by little," he said.

In 2017, three Chinese travel agencies announced that they would stop selling elephant ride and performance products.

While Zhang urges Chinese consumers to use their power to raise elephant welfare, Huang Hongxiang, another young Chinese, put his life in great danger, going undercover in Africa to expose ivory traffickers.

Huang Hongxiang, a wildlife protection activist, recalled how dangerous the undercover investigation was. "A lot of the time I'm wearing a hidden camera, and if certain people found me with it, I'd be in major trouble."

Huang was featured in the 2016 documentary The Ivory Game. He posed as a Chinese ivory buyer who tricked a Ugandan dealer into a police trap.

"When the police show up, I'd be the person closest to that criminal. So who knows what could happen. Who knows whether he has a gun or a knife, or what he might do," he said.

The documentary has brought Huang a lot of exposure, meaning he'll never go undercover again. But he said there's a reason for him to go public.

Huang said, "There are a million people in China who can totally do the same. But why so far have there been relatively few Chinese doing these kinds of things? Why when you go to the global wildlife conservation or global NGO area you see a lot of white and black people, some South Americans, but you don't see a lot of Chinese faces?"

China banned all ivory trade and processing activities in late 2017. It was hailed as a monumental step to save elephants from extinction.

Huang and Zhang share a mission and send the same message: Protect elephants and let them live freely.

For more information about Asian elephants, you can read An Endangered Giant: Asian elephants spotted in rural Chinese village

(Top image via VCG)

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at

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A photo and video footage of a thin skeletal elephant has surfaced the internet, which shows the animal doing circus tricks in a zoo in Thailand.

Elephants at the Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand were forced to perform tricks in an almost deserted stand with only very few zoo visitors. Two of the five elephants there appeared to be severely underweight and looked weak.

“I’ve been visiting the zoo for a long time because I like to look at the animals. But when I visited last week, I was upset when I saw one of the elephants. The elephant looked so thin and weak. I felt so sorry for him. I think he needs help,” one spectator, who wanted to remain anonymous, told LADbible.

Local authorities from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation inspected the zoo and examined the elephants.

According to a report by The Bangkok Post, investigators found out that most elephants had lost their teeth and could not chew the food that the zoo was giving them, resulting to starvation and malnutrition.

Zoo staff was ordered to let the elephants rest and plan how they could be able to provide softer foods for the majestic beings.

“Thailand, like many other countries in the region, faces numerous challenges in detecting and suppressing the trafficking of its native wildlife,” Nuggehalli Jayasimha, managing director of Humane Society International (HIS) in India, told The Dodo. “Lack of strong animal welfare legislation and lack of regulation of zoos, circus and street performance has resulted in [the] suffering of elephants.”

The zoo, which was built in 1950 as Thailand’s first crocodile farm, apparently had an expired license back in 2016.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

KRABIMonk allegedly rapes 78 year old woman in Krabi

A 78 year old woman has filed a report to police saying that she was raped by a monk near Krabi temple. Police are searching for the suspect.

Khlongtom Police in Krabi visited the temple which is 400 metres from the 78 year old woman’s home. The woman told police that the suspect was aged around 40 years old.

She told police that the monk used a knife to threaten her before raping her near the temple while she was collecting fruit. According to the woman’s report he said “thank you” after raping her and fled the scene.

Police are searching for the suspect and noted that one of the monks at the temple has disappeared in recent days as well.

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Foundation organizes feast for elephants in Hua Hin

Prachuap Khiri Khan – A grand feast was arranged for six elephants aged 80 to 95 years old at the Hutsadin Elephant Foundation in Hua Hin district, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, on Tuesday.

The feast was organized to celebrate the National Elephant Day on March 13th of every year and was attended by the chairman of the Hutsadin Elephant Foundation, Wanit Henwongprasert, the first mahout of England, Tony Kelly, aged 93, volunteers, local people, and foreign tourists.

The feast featured a giant fruit cake consisting of 10 kilograms of bananas, pineapples, apples, corns, and watermelons.

A large number of tourists fed the elephants with fruit and took photos of them.

Wanit said the event helped promote Thailand’s tourism and Hua Hin, while reminding everyone that Thai elephants are the symbolic animal of Thailand.

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Baby elephants at shopping plaza raise concerns

PHUKET: Two baby elephants seen outside a shopping plaza in Mai Khao, at the northern end of the island, are in good care, but their legal status has yet to be confirmed, the Phuket livestock chief has told The Phuket News.

Manas Thepparuk, Acting Chief of the Phuket Provincial Office of the Department of Livestock Development (DLD), conducted a surprise visit at the Turtle Village shopping plaza in Tuesday night (Mar 12) after receiving a tip off that the baby elephants were “badly abused”.

"When I arrived at 6:30pm, I found two baby elephants, one male and one female, both about four years old. They were on show to tourists, who were allowed to feed them,” Mr Manas said.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Rescued Elephant Immediately Snuggles With First Friend She Makes

This soulful and sociable elephant is named Mae Dok.

Mae Dok is nearly 60 years old and she's spent her entire life in a small town in Thailand, where she was an attraction for tourists.

Mae Dok spent years standing by a small bridge, begging for treats.

Now that's her old life. It's "the life she can put behind her," according to Emily McWilliam, cofounder and manager of Burm & Emily's Elephant Sanctuary (BEES) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. "Never to stand and beg for sweets under the bridge in the touristic village again," McWilliam told The Dodo.

Just last week, as Mae Dok was taking a dip in a small stream in the village, she had no reason to believe that her whole life was about to change.

But rescuers from BEES were standing by, taking pictures of her last day in that village. If you look closely, you can spot the chain draped over her back, as if a symbol of the old life.

"She was chained on a long chain in an overgrown farm on the edge of her home village, munching on grasses and splashing with mud," BEES wrote. "Her family came to visit her throughout the day to say goodbye and it was so touching to see how affected members of the family were by Mae Dok's presence over the years and how lovingly they said goodbye and gave her banana offerings ... They told us many beautiful stories and spoke of how sweet Mae Dok is."

Then it was time. Mae Dok, the wise, elderly animal people loved enough to set free, was about to be loaded onto a truck.

As beloved as Mae Dok was, the people who loved her knew she deserved better, especially as she got older. It was time for Mae Dok to retire.

But Mae Dok had never left that small town in her whole life. "We were not sure if she would get on the truck," BEES wrote. "Mae Dok hesitated and stood at the back of the truck for some time vocalizing and reluctant to lift her feet."

Some of the people who had taken care of Mae Dok gently encouraged her to leave. "Mae Dok eventually lifted her legs up onto the truck and slowly edged forward," BEES wrote.

As the truck was getting ready to pull away, a member of the rescue team held the tip of her trunk to communicate that everything was OK — and everything was about to get even better.

As Mae Dok's journey continued, rescuers started to get to know her better. They realized that the stories the locals from the village had told about her were definitely true: Mae Dok loved to chat.

"She likes to chirp and grumble even with no other elephants around," BEES wrote. "She is a very talkative elephant."

After a seven-hour drive, Mae Dok arrived at the sanctuary and stepped out of the truck onto the fresh grass.

"She stepped down off the truck a little wobbly, her legs were quite stiff. The chain was removed and Mae Dok vocalized with low grumbles as she made her way down to the grass field," BEES wrote. "We gave her a spray-down with the hose. We then let her explore and followed her lead, allowing her space to take in her new home."

When Mae Dok spotted another rescued elephant she got very excited — perhaps this would be someone new to talk to! — but the other elephant was taken aback by the presence of someone new.

"Mae Dok was very very interested, but hesitant to step forward. Thong Dee was very anxious and hesitant also," BEES wrote. "Thong Dee flared her ears and ... moved quickly past Mae Dok at a distance. Mae Dok still directing her trunk towards Thong Dee made deep vocalizations. Thong Dee did stop momentarily and looked back at Mae Dok with her ears and eyes wide open and then continued on."

Making friends isn't always easy, but Mae Dok went on her way and continued to explore.

She paused for a brief nap and, upon waking, that's when she spotted another elephant in the distance, Mae Kam, a little farther upstream.

This time, there was chemistry.

"Mae Kam approached slowly ... We didn't hear any sounds from Mae Kam to begin with, it appeared she was a bit nervous and seemed to want to get past, but as Mae Dok wouldn't move, she retreated," BEES wrote. "She then stopped and turned back again as if to realize, 'Hang on, I need to go that way for my afternoon treats.'"

Mae Kam seemed unsure of what to do with this big new elephant standing right in front of her. The new lady, Mae Dok, decided that the best thing to do was to just start talking. "Mae Dok, still vocalizing and sniffing towards her, decided to take the next move," BEES wrote. "She took a large step forward and reached out to Mae Kam. Then the most incredible, magical, unexpected display took place."

The pair rested their heads right next to each other, and then started chatting back and forth.

"Mae Dok then followed Mae Kam back to her night enclosure," BEES wrote. "The mahouts said they both talked a lot in the night, they barely got any sleep ... They have been vocalizing and chatty since."

Since their first meeting, Mae Dok and Mae Kam have spent so much time together.

Mae Kam even showed her new friend her favorite bathing spot just the other day, and their friendship continues to grow and flourish.

"It has been magical," the sanctuary wrote. "It's hard to put into words how happy we feel for Mae Dok. Welcome home, girl."

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Thursday, March 07, 2019

Elephant Comes Stomping At Couple’s Car

This is the nerve-racking moment a driver and his wife cowered in fear under the dashboard after a wild elephant came stomping towards them.
Passakorn Getpesh, 30, and his partner Kanchanok, 27, were going camping when they noticed the female jumbo in the road in Prachin Buri, eastern Thailand on March 1.

They stopped the vehicle hoping that the elephant, which appeared to be looking for food, would amble back into the forest.

But the beast sparked panic as it came stomping towards them. The woman passenger is heard saying in the video to abandon their vehicle and run.

Her husband reassures her to stay calm. And with the elephant already near, the couple could only duck their heads and keep still – hoping the elephant would pass without noticing them.

Luckily, the wild elephant only clipped the headlight with its knee before it walked away from the car and disappeared in the forest.

Passakorn, who travels to the national park twice a month, said that this was the first time he had encountered a wild elephant.

He said: ‘’I saw the elephant wagging her tail and ears and I was told that were signs of a good mood. The sound of the car could make her panic and aggressive, so I stopped driving.

‘’I hoped that the elephant would see our car as if it was a huge stone or something, so she would walk away very quickly.’’

Kanchanok also said that they were very lucky to survive the situation. She said: ‘’She walked too close to the car. I thought that she was about to stomp our car or use her truck to throw us.

‘’Wild animals are really unpredictable, so I could not think positively. I would say that we were just lucky this time.’’

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Vidyut Jammwal becomes first ever actor to bring animal flow workout to India

Vidyut Jammwal introduces Animal Flow, one of the most difficult workout technique in his upcoming movie Junglee. Animal Flow is a form of workout which imitates the movements of animals helps improve your strength, flexibility, body control and coordination.

In this video released by the makers of Junglee, Vidyut Jaamwal is seen intensively working out in the jungle.

On the other hand, Vidyut Jammwal remembers having an affinity for animals while growing up in Kerala - he was brought up around three horses. But it wasn't until he trained with them for his movie Junglee, which releases next April, that he realised what great, magnificent beasts they were. "My experience was very different. The ones around you are used to human beings, but in the wild they are very different. Even if they wag their tail, they might hurt you," says the actor, who plays an elephant whisperer in the film.

The protagonist of the movie, Junglee is Bhola, a Thai elephant, and Jammwal had to travel to Thailand to meet him and his existing owner to learn what "elephant whispering" really was. "It was the most challenging thing I've done yet. A whisperer is someone who has a tacit conversation with an animal - you don't say 'hey, you are so beautiful'.

Jammwal also grew up with a horse whisperer in his family, and says that though he had to learn the fine art of elephant whispering, he already knew the science behind it, and says it's all about "sensitivity".

A Junglee Pictures production, 'Junglee’ is a family action directed by Chuck Russell, produced by Vineet Jain and co-produced by Priti Shahani. The film is set to release in cinemas on April 5, 2019.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Lodi native student works with elephants in Thailand

This winter, Kennedy Herbsleb, 21, of Lodi, spent two weeks in Thailand helping animals and learning hands-on what it’s like to be a veterinarian.

Traveling with study-abroad organization Loop Abroad, Kennedy was selected as part of a small team that volunteered giving care at a dog shelter and spent a week working directly with rescued elephants at an elephant sanctuary.

The Veterinary Service program brings students to Thailand for two weeks to volunteer alongside veterinarians from the US and Thailand. For one week, Kennedy and her team volunteered at an elephant sanctuary outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand to work with the giant animals and learn about animal rescue and conservation on a larger scale.

The elephants at the sanctuary have been rescued from trekking, logging or forced breeding programs. Many of them had been abused and suffer from chronic injuries or blindness. At the elephant sanctuary, they are cared for by volunteers from around the world.

Kennedy fed and cared for elephants, as well as learn about their diagnoses alongside an elephant vet. The sanctuary is also home to over 1,000 animals, including cats, dogs, water buffalo, horses and cows, and is sustained in huge part by the work of weekly volunteers such as Kennedy.

For the other week, Kennedy volunteered at a dog rescue clinic in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The shelter is home to dogs who have been abandoned, beaten or abused.

While she studied under the veterinarians leading her group, Kennedy and her team made a difference in the lives of these dogs.

By providing check-ups and cleanings, treating ear and eye problems, taking and testing blood, administering vaccines, treating wounds and helping with sterilization surgeries, the students were able to help support the health and well-being of these dogs.

By following a study abroad model instead of a voluntourism model, Loop focuses on educating its students so that they can contribute and serve in meaningful ways. It also works with locally run animal welfare organizations so that students contribute to long-term improvement on the ground in the countries they visit.

With programs in Thailand, South Africa, Australia, and the Amazon and Galapagos, Loop Abroad is able to support animal welfare and conservation around the world because of its students and their dedication to helping animals in need.

The program’s Managing Director Jane Stine says, “Our students are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They are kind, compassionate, dedicated, hard-working individuals who have big goals and want to make a big impact. It’s amazing to see how eager they are to learn and challenge themselves. Over the last nine years, we’ve seen them go on to do some wonderful things.”

Loop Abroad has animal science, marine biology and veterinary programs for students and young adults age 14 to 30, and offers financial aid and fundraising help. Programs range from two weeks in summer to a full semester abroad, and college credit is available.

Interested participants can inquire or apply at Admission to veterinary programs is selective and Kennedy was selected based on her transcript, admissions essay, and professional references.

Of her trip, Kennedy says, “While getting to experience a new and amazing culture, I learned so much! Being in the dog clinic and doing rounds with the elephant veterinarian really helped me decide what I wanted my future to look like. Scrubbing in and monitoring anesthesia during spay and neuters of dogs and cats was the highlight of my first week. It was so awesome to work hands-on and be so close to the elephants also.”

Kennedy is a junior at University of Wisconsin — Platteville, majoring in Animal Science.

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Monday, February 25, 2019

Elephant charges and flips tourists raft in Thailand waterway

A tourist group in Thailand had a scary encounter on an Asian waterway when an elephant appeared in the tree line and charged the raft.

The elephant knocked one of the rafts completely over leaving the tourists wet and scared!

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Friday, February 22, 2019


Footage of the moment a loose elephant runs wildly in a river before running into a tourist’s raft and overturning it and injuring one person, has gone viral and turned into a cautionary tale today.

Dechathorn Sastradechawat, the 38-year-old van driver who filmed the clip and shared the harrowing experience on his Facebook page at the beginning of this month, told local media today that he was hired by a group of Bangkok tourists to take them rafting along a river in Chiang Mai’s Mae Wang District during the day of the incident.

Dechathorn volunteered to take photos for the group that day, reported Sanook, without any inkling of just how dramatic his job was going to turn out to be.

While the group was happily floating along, an elephant suddenly started running towards them and hit the raft, knocking everyone on board in different directions.

The panicked group scurried to shore before a mahout was able to get a hold of the elephant.

“We were so close to death,” Dechathorn captions in his Facebook video of the incident.

One woman sustained an injury from hitting her leg against a rock and was unable to move it, reported PPTV. She was immediately transported to the hospital.

Kessarin Toonkaew, president of the Mae Win Subdistrict Administrative Organization, interviewed the owner of the six-year-old elephant, named Pangchailai, who was playing around in the water nearby prior to the incident.

Kessarin claims that the elephant was likely just trying to play with the tourists, as the animal oftenly does, since Pangchailai is very intelligent and had never exhibited aggressive or naughty behavior before.

The loud noises coming from the tourists might have excited or startled the creature, she added.

The Mae Win Subdistrict Administrative Organization — which oversees tourism in the area — had ordered for signs to be placed along the river to remind tourists not to be loud or scare the elephant in the roughly 10 farms in the area.

As of press time, the owner of the elephant has apologized to the tourists and paid for the injured party’s hospital bills.

Dechathorn stated that he did not intend to cause any harm to anyone or their business with his clip but simply wanted it to serve as a cautionary tale.

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Angry elephant in quarantine, tourists treated

PHANG NGA:-- The elephant that attacked two Italian tourists during a trek in Phang Nga on Tuesday (Feb 19) has been chained up and left in isolation for a period of one to two months “for assessment”, according to the Phang Nga Department of Livestock Development.

Manuel Trofa, 29, and Francesco Di Megu, 31, were riding the elephant (named Thanwa) along with a mahout through a palm oil plantation with elephant trekking company, Bangkaew Adventure Tour, when the elephant suddenly shook them off in fit of rage and gored Di Megu in the stomach causing his small intestine to spill out.

Sarote Jittakarn of the Phang Nga Department of Livestock Development told The Phuket News that Thanwa, who is approximately 8-9 years old, is still a very young adolescent who was previously used as a circus elephant and had attacked a mahout once before, although the mahout was unhurt.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Two Italian tourists have been injured, one of them seriously, when they were thrown off an elephant at the Bang Kaeo Adventure elephant camp in Thailand’s southern province of Phang-nga on Tuesday.

Muang district police, went to the park in Tambon Song Praek to investigate after being alerted of the incident by camp officials. Police were told that the two Italian tourists, whose identities are currently being withheld, hired one elephant, 8-year old Tunwa, for a jungle trip escorted by a mahout.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Farmers’ joy: elephant damage now covered

A budget of Bt1.74 billion has been set aside in 2019 to protect farmers against damage to their rice and a further Bt212.8 million for damage to their maize grain, which the farmers grow commercially for livestock animals' feed industry, said Natthaporn Chatusripitak, spokesman for the deputy prime minister in charge of the economy.

The insurance schemes have also been set up to provide two tiers of coverage, tier 1 for a basic insurance policy and tier 2 for a more comprehensive option, which caters both to those willing to pay more for greater protection and to those taking out insurance for the first time.

Besides the usual cover for flood, drought, storms/typhoons, cold weather/frost, and fire, the insurance schemes would now also cover damages caused by wild elephants’ intrusion, Natthaporn said.

Wild elephants have been a menace for decades to people living near forest zones across Thailand, with numerous cases of invasion of farms and houses.

The issue of wild elephants intruding on to farmland has been severe in recent years.

Many cases have made headlines, including one incident in Nakhon Si Thammarat province last month, in which 7-8 wild elephants from Khao Luang forest destroyed orchards in tambon Kha Noi, Sichon district for several days, prompting villagers to call for help from the authorities. The villagers claimed two elephants from the same herd had also been responsible for damaging property three years ago.

In November last year, 40 wild elephants intruded 100 rai (16 hectares) of farmland in Loei’s Phu Luang district and destroyed rice, corn and tapioca, as well as a hut and water containers. The attack prompted Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary officials and villagers to set up 15-strong teams to work in shifts around the clock to drive away the elephants. They also advised people not to go out at night due to the risk of elephant attacks.

Earlier last year, wild elephants in Chanthaburi also destroyed 30 durian trees, resulting in damage estimated at Bt400,000.

Increasing concern over the severity of the problem saw the matter being escalated and prompted the government’s inclusion of such a threat in the crop insurance.

It also led to a collaboration between WWF-Thailand and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), resulting in officials fitting six specially made collars to six elephants at Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary in Chachoengsao province, since last December 22. The Sanctuary was designated a “red” area, indicating that it was a high human/elephant conflict zone and merited extra attention, in order to reduce the risk of human-elephant conflicts.

DNP deputy director-general Pinsak Suraswadi said during the project launch last month that the collars, which were imported from South Africa, would be used to study the movement of the pachyderms and help resolve the issue of them destroying crops.

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Monk trampled to death by wild elephants after refusing to move tent as he 'was enjoying the peace'

A Buddhist monk was trampled to death by a herd of wild elephants at a spiritual retreat - after refusing to move his tent.

Phra Prapop Chanphaikhor had been spending 19 nights in the jungle contemplating religious teachings.

The 25-year-old ad almost successfully reached the end of the period of seclusion.

But he defied warnings from local elephant trackers that there were wild bulls approaching the area and he refused to move his tent for the last two nights of his retreat.

He told them that he enjoyed the "peaceful atmosphere" and refused to leave - even though locals had warned him was meditating in the middle of a route often used by the herds.

Tragically, Prapop was found dead with broken ribs, arms, and legs near his meditation tent at the palm plantation in Chachoengsao, central Thailand last Wednesday morning.

The village leader Somjit Sathuchard was the first who found the dead the body of the monk lying in the wrecked plantation. It had been dragged 15 metres from his tent.

Rescue workers took his body to Tha Takiab Hospital, where doctors said he had been dead for at least six hours, which suggests he was trampled in the early hours of the morning.

Village leader Somjit told the police that Prapop settled his tent in the area for two nights with the other monk. But one had already moved since they were told the place was the passageway of hundred of elephants.

She said: "Villagers already warned them that it was dangerous to stay overnight here. On Monday we also suggested them to move but Prapop refused because he liked the peaceful atmosphere here."

It was presumed that fifteen elephants were walking in the jungle in the middle of the night for food before unintentionally stomping on the monk as his temporary shelter obstructed their usual passage.

The village leader also said that this was not the first time the wild elephants disturbed humans and several locals had been injured by them in recent years.

She said: "The wild herds recently started to settle around the plantations and fields, destroyed agricultural products, and hurt people. They also did not return to their natural habitat.

"We contacted the wildlife officers to discuss and find the way to solve the serious issue before these elephants become too aggressive to handle."

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Elephant Hills sponsors veterinary training at Elephant Hospital

Many of Thailand’s elephant veterinarians, including our own vets at Elephant Hills took part in a recent Elephant Foot and Nail Care Training. During the years of working with these magnificent animals and co-operating with the country’s top elephant veterinarians, we have learned the high importance of elephant foot care. Hence, our Elephant Conservation Project helped sponsoring this essential training, arranged by the Elephant Hospital in Lampang.

Elephant’s foot structure & function

Elephants are the largest living terrestrial mammals and their feet carry a huge body mass. To achieve this weight-bearing duty, elephant feet have very special structures. Asian elephants have five toes in the front feet, and four in the back. The tips of the toes are in contact with the ground and there is a large fat pad behind the toes. In order to help maintaining balance and reducing pressure, the fat pad has the ability to spread out.

Elephant’s feet enable the animal to walk and maintain balance in challenging terrains. Moreover, elephants can also “hear” through their feet. A study conducted at Stanford University in California found that the vocalizations and foot stomps of elephants resonate at a frequency other elephants can detect through the ground. The scientists found evidence that elephants use their sensitive trunks and feet to detect, and even interpret low-frequency seismic signals from distant herds.

Nail and foot care

Elephant’s feet are very sensitive and prone to infections if not taken care of properly. Cracked nails are also a common issue for captive elephants and managing foot diseases can be challenging because they often only become noticeable when they have progressed to difficult stages. Therefore, it’s crucial to train the vets and elephant care takers about preventative care and how to spot any abnormalities in the condition of the feet.

The insightful, practical training included a demonstration on soaking and filing elephant’s nails. This is an important part of elephant nail care, as it helps to prevent overgrowth and the many issues it can cause. As you can imagine, no ordinary nail file is adequate for the job. Instead, a large file, found in hardware shops is a good tool for this purpose. In addition to actual nail care procedures, the veterinarians emphasized the importance of regular exercise and walking on natural surfaces.

Within our Elephant Conservation Project we try to help improving the welfare of domestic elephants by supporting government run elephant hospitals. We also contribute to wild elephant conservation by helping the Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks to prevent human-elephant conflicts. We are currently looking for companies to co-operate with our project through corporate sponsorship. Please contact us at if your company would be interested in aiding the elephants in Thailand.

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Thailand: man dies of elephant stampede

(MENAFN) A mahout was reportedly stumped to death by an elephant he took case of in central Thailand's Sukhothai Province.

Police declared that the man, aged 38, has died on Saturday near an elephant sanctuary belonging to him.

He was reportedly discovered lying his face down with injuries along his body in a corn field.

Pachyderm was also discovered close to the body.


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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Bull Elephant Gores and Stomps Mahout to Death at Northern Thailand Elephant Sanctuary

SUKHOTHAI – A chief elephant mahout at Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary in Sri Satchanalai district of Sukhothai Province in Northern Thailand was stomped and gored to death by a 10 year-old bull elephant.

Pol Capt Anusorn Niamkaew, a duty officer at the Sri Satchanalai police station said that 38 year-old Anont Pimmuen was found lying face down with his neck and legs broken in a corn field near the sanctuary. There were severe bruises along his body. Beneath a tree not far from the body stood Boonchok, 10, a bull elephant with one left tusk.

Anont’s British wife Katherine Conner, 38, founded the elephant sanctuary in 2007. Her husband Anont who was the chief mahout at the centre, which now has 18 elephants.

Anont had raised Boonchok since he was a baby.

Boonchok was fierce and often irritable and only Anont could control the animal, said Katherine.

Before the incident, Anont had taken Boonchok to graze in the fields as usual. The bull might have been irritable due to the hot weather. Anont was not carrying a hook with him at the time, so he had nothing to control the animal with when it attacked, Katherine said as she tried to control her grief.

Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES) is located off-the-beaten track in the rural village of Baan Tuek in northern Thailand.

It is situated on over 600 hundred acres of forested land that encourages the elephants to interact in a natural environment.

As an eco-friendly environment aiming toward self-sustainability, BLES has embarked on a program of tree planting. In 2008, BLES planted over 3,000 trees, all of which will enrich the elephants’ lives. Not only does this vegetation providethe elephants with their favorite foods, it also acts as shade to protect the elephants from the heat of the day.

Hand-constructed by local craftsman and mahouts, the BLES living spaces are built of sustainable materials primarily collected from the land. In addition to a main meeting house, gift shop, kitchen, and outdoor-dining pavilion, the three guesthouses are in perfect proximity to take full advantage of the sights and sounds of the elephants.

This unique sanctuary is just that to the elephants— a haven that allows them to simply be. There are no rides, shows, or painting projects — just elephants who have finally been allowed to live with dignity and respect.

BLES is entirely dependent on funds generated by guests to the sanctuary and donations from individuals and other foundations. If you wish to help or donate click here

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Woman killed in wild elephants attack in Thailand

BANGKOK, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- A woman was found stomped to death by wild elephants by a roadside near a national park in central Thailand's Hua Hin, reports said on Saturday.

Police found the woman lying face-down in bushes with her shoulders crushed and her skull fractured. Elephants footprints were seen nearby.

The woman's husband said she left home on Thursday evening to visit her sick mother and didn't return. He was informed that his wife's body was found the next morning.

The couple's house is about five kilometers away from the spot where the woman was killed by the pachyderms. Police said the spot is adjacent to a national park and the area turned into pineapple plantations later.

Villagers are living under threats of wild elephants in Thailand's forest area. The southeastern Asia country has seen the second elephant attack in just 48 hours.

Previously, a Buddhist monk of a 19-day seclusion was killed by wild elephants near a Wildlife Sanctuary in Chachoengsao Province in central Thailand.

It's estimated that about 3,500 domesticated elephants live in Thailand and roughly 3,340 wild elephants live in 69 wildlife sanctuaries and national parks across the country.

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Hua Hin: Thai woman trampled to death by elephants on her way to do the washing

A Thai woman told her husband on Thursday that she was on her way to her mother's to do some washing.

Saichon Srisawat, 50, left with the clothes but when she didn't come back for dinner her husband Niphon Yimlamai, 71, was concerned.

A search party was formed and next day his wife was found.

Nong Plap police discovered her naked in undergrowth by the side of the road near her mother's house in the Huay Sat Yai sub-district of Hua Hin that is within the Kaeng Krachan national park.

She had been trampled to death by at least two elephants. Her arms and legs were all broken and her skull was fractured. There were elephant footprints all around.

She had been dead about a day. The body was taken to Hua Hin hospital.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Three elephants that were chained up for the tourism industry in Thailand experience freedom for the first time

Three elephants that were chained up for the tourism industry in Thailand experience freedom for the first time

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Buddhist Monk Stomped to Death by Wild Elephants in Central Thailand

BANGKOK – A Buddhist Monk on the last night of a 19-day seclusion was killed by wild elephants near Khao Ang Ruenai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tha Takiab district of Chachoengsao Province in central Thailand.

Phra Prapop Chanphaikhor, 35, of Sammadang monastery in Tha Takiab district, was found stomped to death a short distance from his crushed tent that he used to meditate in at the back of a 15-rai oil-palm plantation on Wednesday morning, Pol Maj Surapisit Makngam, investigation chief at Tha Takiab, told the Bangkok Post.

Rescue workers took his body to Tha Takiab Hospital, where doctors said he had died at least 6 hours before his death was reported about 8.30am.

Phra Won Thongnoi, 76, of Wat Samed Nua in Bang Khla, told police that he, Phra Prapop and another monk from Samadang monastery, assisted by four laymen, had set up their tents and been in seclusion in the plantation since Jan 25.

On Tuesday night, all but Phra Prapop left the area behind the plantation. The 35-year-old monk wanted to stay there another night because it was quieter than the place near the plantation living quarters the other monks moved to.

On Tuesday morning, the other monk from Sammadang monastery returned Phra Prapop’s seclusion site, but found his tent smashed to pieces. Phra Prapop’s broken body was about 15 metres away, the 76-year-old monk said.

Thawee Sathuchart, 61, a former kamnan of tambon Tha Takiab, said the plantation belonged to a retired teacher, Samnao Limrak, and monks often went there to go into seclusion.

He said wild herds totalling about 200 elephants had been pillaging local plantations over recent years, and had become increasingly fierce.

Forestry officials had tried to push them back into Khao Ang Ruenai Wildlife Sanctuary by setting off firecrackers. But the loud noise had not scared the animals away. It instead made them angry and even more violent, the former kamnan said.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Elephant Goes Berserk & Grabs Tourist for 2 Mins When She Tried to Take a Selfie With it Read more at WOB:

Not the elephant selfie she was expecting! Recently, 19 year-old Nichanat Manucham’s photo op with an elephant at a country fair in Surin (northeast of Thailand), took a twist – literally – for the terrifying when it started wrapping its trunk around the Thai native. Phan Thong, the elephant, grabbed her body, lifted her in the air and went on a rampage through the nearby food stalls, all while holding the young girl captive. The full footage of the incident can be seen here:

Luckily for Nichanat, she was quick witted enough to hold on to the elephant’s tusks, thus making sure she would not be flung far away and suffer greater injuries, as reported by China Press. All in all, she held on to dear life for nearly two whole minutes before Phan Thong finally calmed down, at which point Nichanat was able to wrest free from his tusks. Those must have been the two longest minutes of her life! Due to her smart thinking, Nichanat escaped mostly unscathed, save for a few minor grazes on her arm. The brave teen was even pictured smiling as she called her mother, mere minutes later.

Later on, Nichanat was able to speak to the press, and even apologised for causing the disturbance, The Daily Mail reported. “I could hear the elephant breathing and smashing the tables. I was scared but I just could only think about holding on. Then people came to help me get down,” the teen recalled.

Police have since gone on the record to state that the elephant’s frenzied rage was most likely the result of the swelling heat and the noise from the crowded country fair. As unfortunate as this incident was, we’re glad the girl wasn’t badly hurt! If anything, we think it sheds light on the plight of elephants used for entertainment in Thailand. Many of these gentle giants live in less than favourable conditions, so remember to think about what you’re supporting before you sign up for that elephant ride/elephant photo op!

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Amazing! Thai girls and elephants were rolled up and shaken for nearly two minutes while taking self-portraits

Two minutes in shock: Thai girls self-portrait was swept up in the air by an elephant (Source:)

On February 7, a 19-year-old girl in Surin, Thailand, was curled up in the air by an elephants trunk while taking a photo of herself on the roadside, while elephants trampled on a nearby stall. The girl was rescued after holding her ivory for nearly two minutes, only slightly injured. The girl apologized to the elephant for causing the riot.

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Friday, February 01, 2019

Help name the new baby elephant at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

SYRACUSE N.Y. — The Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s newborn elephant needs a name and the zoo is asking for your suggestions!

The calf was born on January 15, weighing about 267 pounds and measured about 3 feet tall. His mother is Mali and his father is Doc. The baby has an older brother, 4-year-old Batu.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced Thursday that a naming contest will run through Thursday, Feb. 8.

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Asia Pacific Nationals Arrested Exploiting Wildlife In Africa

A pair of Vietnamese nationals have been arrested with one of the largest illegal wildlife seizures ever in Uganda. The AP reported that Ugandan officials intercepted the two along with 750 pieces of elephant ivory and thousands of pangolin scales. Authorities believe the haul was coming from South Sudan, and originated in Congo. The AP said the Uganda Revenue Authority found the ivory and pangolin scales hidden inside timber that was packed into three freight containers.

Wildlife experts have warned that as newly emerging middle classes rapidly develop in China and Vietnam, increasing numbers of Asia Pacific nationals are operating in Africa, involved in the killing of critically endangered species, and the smuggling of their body parts back to Asia. That’s where consumers in China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and, when it comes to elephant ivory, even Japan, are causing multiple extinction crises. As awareness grows of the threat they pose to wildlife, the criminals have begun operating clandestine backyard factories where they carve the items into trinkets, chop sticks and jewelry in an attempt to avoid detection. Now a pair of Asia Pacific nationals from among the worst offending countries have been busted in a massive seizure illustrating just how far from Asia these nationals are traveling to kill off the world’s most iconic – and sometimes lesser known – animal species.

The AP quoted a Belgian researcher who has studied how individual traders factor into the ivory trade. Kristof Titeca told them this bust proves that Uganda “still is a major transit point for illegal wildlife". Mozambique is another of the suspected main departure points for things like rhino horn, elephant ivory and pangolin scales to be exported from Africa to Asia.

All eight surviving species of pangolins are under the heaviest level of protection from CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) as Asia Pacific consumers have driven a killing spree of an estimated one million pangolins over the last decade. Consumers in China and other Asia countries eat both their meat and their scales in a belief they have some medicinal properties as a part of Chinese traditional medicine. There is no scientific proof of any medical benefit, but there is evidence that the Asian species are nearly extinct, having been nearly completely wiped out by poachers. Conservationists don’t know how many pangolins remain, but the size of many recent busts – tons of pangolin scales at a time – indicate the small scaled toothless mammals, are facing a brutal onslaught.

As for elephants, there were 1.3 million in Africa in the 1970s, the AP reported, but now that population is under 500,000, with tens of thousands of elephants killed every year for their tusks. China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia are among the top ivory consuming nations. A huge Chinese middle class that is thought to number 400 million has brought about a fast-moving extinction crisis for many animal species these consumers are seeking body parts from: elephants, rhinos, tigers, pangolins and totoaba fish are among the most imperiled animals they're decimating. Experts have warned that this rate of killing is unsustainable, and point to China’s enormous population and strong lust for critically endangered wildlife parts as the top force pushing these extinction crises.

Next week we’ll have a special Helping Hand segment about a local event happening February 16th being held by Wild Aloha Foundation to raise awareness and funds in the fight to defend the pangolins.

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Thai court dismisses wildlife trafficking case against Vietnamese smuggler

A suspected wildlife trafficking kingpin accused of smuggling $1 million worth of rhino horns to Thailand has had the case against him dismissed.

Thai court's verdict was slammed by conservationists.

Boonchai Bach, a Vietnamese national with Thai citizenship, was arrested in January 2018 in connection with the smuggling of 14 horns from Africa to Thailand.

His arrest came after police caught an airport quarantine official attempting to remove the horns from the quarantine section of a Bangkok airport.

The police sting led investigators to a major syndicate allegedly financed by Boonchai.

But the case was dismissed by a judge on Tuesday because of a lack of evidence, according to an official at Samut Prakan provincial court, where the trial took place.

The case against Boonchai unravelled after a key witness changed his testimony linking Boonchai to the crime, according to the founder of anti-trafficking group Freeland, Steve Galster.

"In the end the case was low-profile and treated like a parking ticket," Galster said, adding that the case "fell apart" when the prosecution's only major witness "flipped" on the stand.

Freeland representatives, including Galster, assisted with the investigation and testified at Tuesday's trial.

They allege there is "adequate incriminating information" to show the Bach family is part of the sprawling Southeast Asian crime syndicate dubbed "Hydra."

The syndicate smuggles elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts to Chinese and Vietnamese dealers.

For years, traffickers have operated out of Nakhon Phanom province in northeast Thailand, bordering Laos.

It is a pivot point in Asia's wildlife trafficking chain through which smuggled goods transit through Thailand into Laos and on to Vietnam and China.

Both countries are among the world's biggest markets for parts from endangered or protected species, including tigers, elephants, rhinos and pangolins.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Pineapple plantation owner killed by wild elephants in Thailand

BANGKOK — The elderly owner of a pineapple plantation in Chachoengsao was killed by two wild elephants early Monday, local villagers said.

District officials, army troops and wildlife officials checked the plantation in Ban Khao Kluaymai of Chachoengsao’s Tha Takiab district at 6 am Monday after being alerted of the death.

They found the body of Ek Homhuan, 73, on the ground near a hut where he spent the night to watch over his pineapple plantation.

His friends and relatives told the authorities that while they were tapping rubber trees early Monday, they heard wild elephants making angry sounds.

They went to check and saw two wild elephants demolishing Ek’s hut and pulling him outside before kicking him to death.

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Thailand claims world’s first cancer operation and intravenous chemotherapy for elephant

Thai veterinarians have successfully removed a 5-kg cancerous tumor from the intestines of a female elephant and, later, applied intravenous chemotherapy until the animal was cleared of cancer in what could be claimed as the world’s first case of successful cancer treatment of an elephant.

Sarun Chansitthivech, manager of the Lampang-Krabi elephant conservation centre of the National Elephant Institute, has attributed the successful operation and follow-up intravenous therapy to good cooperation from veterinary faculties of Kasetsart, Chiang Mai and Chulalongkorn universities which have provided necessary equipment used during the operation process.

He said that the 30-year-old female elephant, Thongdee, was very weak and thin when it was first brought to the elephant hospital in the northern province of Lampang early last year.

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Viral Images Of Elephants Being Mistreated Reignites Debate

Elephant tourism. It's one of the most popular tourist activities in countries across Asia and Africa, bringing in huge revenue for organisations who allow visitors to ride, feed and bathe with the creatures.

But a recent series of photos uploaded by Facebook user Patong Beach has reignited the debate over the practice, with hundreds of thousands sharing what appears to show elephants being severely abused.

Animal welfare organisations have been advocating against elephant tourism for years and say the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity offered is only possible because of cruel training regimes.

World Animal Protection is leading the push and said elephants are one of the main animals caught up in the wildlife tourism industry.

But Senior Campaign Manager Australia New Zealand, Ben Pearson said the answer isn't as simple as shutting down the industry altogether, because of concerns over local employment and what would become of the elephants.

The organisation lobbies the industry directly, with more than 200 travel companies now committing to stop selling elephant rides and shows.

"We are trying to prove that tourists will still go to Thailand and see elephants where they can't actually touch them and ride them," Pearson told 10 daily.

Pearson explained that Thailand is the "epicentre" of the industry, but nearly 3,000 elephants were used in entertainment tourism across Asia, the vast majority of which live in severely inadequate conditions.

Alarmingly, the number of elephants at tourist venues in Thailand saw a 30 percent increase between 2010-2015, according to a World Animal Protection report.

That's despite a nine percent global decline in the acceptability of elephant riding, according to the same study.

'The Crush'

Pearson said one of the key ways organisations can move away from cruel elephant tourism is to only allow interaction from a distance.

He explained that this went beyond solely elephant riding, and extended to washing and bathing activities.

He said parks, where countless tourists are allowed to interact physically with the elephants is usually a sign the animals have been through cruel training to make it "safe" to do so.

This process is referred to among animal advocates as "The Crushing", and involves the elephant being taken from its mother at a young age and put through a brutal routine until it's scared of its handler.
"With any wild animal there is a general rule of thumb: if you can touch it, hold it, take a photo with it or ride it, then that animal has probably endured cruelty".
Kelly Borg from Perth said she visited a Bali sanctuary in 2014 which claimed to be "super ethical" with rescued elephants from across Asia.

She said while the elephants roamed freely, the park was packed with tourists who were offered elephant riding through water and forests.

"I got a little bit manipulated into thinking that they were super 100 percent ethical," Borg told 10 daily.
"I do believe that the [the owner] cares for them but he's obviously monetising off that for tourists".
She said while she didn't ride the elephants herself she saw they were rotated so one wasn't taking rides or in the water for an entire day.

Borg said she remembered the adult elephants were also chained up at night but said she was unsure if this may have been for safety reasons.

Pearson told 10 daily sometimes elephants were chained up for their own comfort after suffering years of abuse.

"You're talking about elephants that have been rescued from entertainment venues... you're dealing with animals that have been broken and treated to a lifetime of cruelty," Pearson explained.

Heading In the Right Direction

Borg told 10 daily that she had no desire to go back to a sanctuary.

"I think I was a little bit naive and believed that it was all 100 percent ethical, now that I'm a bit older and know more, I'm not convinced it was".

Travel company G Adventures is one company which has banned tours to elephant parks which allow riding and physical interaction.

Global Purpose Specialist Steph Beard said it was part of the company's commitment to responsible travel and Animal Welfare Guidelines, which have been acknowledged and endorsed by Jane Goodall.

The company now prohibits activities where wild animals interact with humans in an 'unnatural way', including elephants, tigers and monkeys.

"The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive," Beard told 10 daily.
"There's been a real shift in travelling mentality in the last couple of years... people are becoming more conscious of decisions they're making while travelling".
She said while seeing elephants is on many people's bucket lists, riding one was not necessary to enhance their holiday.

"We really encourage people to think of the knock-on effect of what they are doing".

She said tourists who are serious about ethical animal encounters should look out for the five freedoms, including that the animals are free from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain, disease, fear and stress.

Pearson said it was also handy to look for travel companies that had signed the "elephant pledge".

"Only go to places where they are not offering you direct interaction and be aware of words like 'sanctuary or conservation,'" Pearson said.

He said park owners now use those terms to bait misinformed tourists.

World Animal Protection lists parks which have been found to treat animals well and urge anyone who has visited a sanctuary they believe may be mistreating elephants to contact them.

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

5 elephants saved from muddy pond in Thailand

BANGKOK, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Five wild elephants in northeastern Thailand finally came out from a farm pond after being trapped there for a few hours with the help of local residents and authorities on Saturday.

The five elephants, including three calves aged around one to two years, were found stunk in a farm pong behind Nong Sai village, Khon Buri district of Nakhon Ratchasima province on Saturday morning, according to local media Posttoday.

Wichit Kitwirat, chief of Khon Buri district and officials from Thap Lan National Park and soldiers rushed to the site after being alerted.

Local residents said these elephants must come out from Thap Lan National Park last night in search of food and accidentally got stuck in the pond.

They said the pond is deep with slippery and sticky land around it, which made it difficult for elephants to get out.

Local residents joined hands with authorities in digging a pathway for elephants to walk out as the animals looked exhausted.

At first, the animals appeared to be scared by so many people around them. Local authorities then ordered people to move away to make room for elephants.

The elephants successfully found the newly-dug way and came out at around 2 pm, running back to the forest.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Thai elephants fitted with tracking collars in bid to curb conflict

Wildlife officials have launched a project to put tracking collars on elephants in a bid to reduce the risk of conflict with local villagers and farmers near a restricted forest area in eastern Thailand. Dr Pinsak Suraswadi, deputy head of the Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation, presided last week over the launch of an exercise to put collars on three elephants in Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary in Chachoengsao district. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia – directly to your inbox The first three collars were imported from South Africa with help from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and a global network of researchers linked to the Institute of Science and Conservation, including the Smithsonian Museum in the United States. An elephant waits patiently while a satellite collar is fitted around his neck in Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary, east of Bangkok. Photo: WWF The project aims to study the movement of elephants in order to try to stop them coming into conflict with human populations, especially in areas designated for development and agriculture. The area where the elephants were collared, east of Bangkok, is designated as a “red” area, indicating it has seen a lot of human-elephant conflict. It is a region where marauding elephants have been known to swarm around and ‘hijack’ trucks carrying fruit they like to eat, such as pineapples. It is also close to forest areas where thousands of poachers have been arrested for poaching rare wildlife or timber. A Thai wildlife official holds…

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Man prosecuted for trafficking ivory items to Thailand

The Hanoi People’s Procuracy has prosecuted a man for attempting to traffic 3.1kg of ivory items to Thailand via Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi one year ago.

According to the indictment, on December 31, 2017, while completing procedures for passengers boarding a flight from Hanoi to Bangkok, customs officers at the airport suspected and checked the luggage of Quach Van Quynh, who was born in 1997 and from Nhu Thanh district of Thanh Hoa province.

The check found four logs, four bead chains and one ring suspected to be ivory that had a total weight of 3.1kg.

All the items were made from African elephant (Loxodonta Africana) tusks, confirmed the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.

This animal species is listed in the annexes of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Quynh told investigators he did not own those items, and that he had not known they were ivory as an acquaintance had only asked him to help bring a suitcase containing food and clothes to a person in Thailand.

The procuracy said there are sufficient evidence proving that Quynh knew the suitcase contained ivory but still tried to bring it to Thailand.

Therefore, it decided to prosecute Quynh for “trafficking prohibited items” as regulated in Article 155 of the 1999 Penal Code.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Body of missing toddler found in Thai sugarcane plantation

BANGKOK (AP) — The search for a missing 2-year-old boy in which even elephants were employed ended grimly Tuesday with the discovery of the toddler's body in a sugarcane plantation in central Thailand.

Suphan Buri provincial governor Nimit Wanchaithanawong said the boy's body was found around five kilometers (three miles) from where he was last seen, and officials are collecting evidence to determine his cause of death.

Sului Piew, the son of migrant workers from Myanmar, went missing Dec. 17 when he went out to play near the plantation where his parents work. Hundreds of rescuers combed through an 80-acre (32-hectare) field of 2-meter-high (6.6-foot-high) sugarcane plants to search for the child, whose body was finally discovered near a small irrigation stream on the plantation.

Police Col. Ronakorn Prakongsri told television station ThaiPBS that Sului's body was found with injuries on his legs but he added that officers would wait for an autopsy report before they pursued investigating the point. Governor Nimit said the missing boy's family had informed authorities of his disappearance when his 3-year-old friend told her parents that she saw Sului being abducted.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Elephants dressed as Santa surprise children at school parade

THAILAND (KTRK) -- In Thailand, four elephants dressed as Santa made a special visit to a school.

They helped hand out toys and snacks to more than 2,000 children.

The kids were then treated to a "khon" mask dancer show, which combines music, singing, dancing and other local rituals.

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Elephants help scout vast sugarcane plantations in search for missing 2-year-old boy

Authorities enlisted the help of four elephants in their search for a 2-year-old boy from Burma who has been missing in Thailand for a week.

Sului Piew disappeared from a sugarcane plantation Dec. 17. The boy’s family was alerted of his disappearance when his 3-year-old friend told her parents that she saw the boy being abducted.

“We set up a search operation center near the field and we will continue with the search in full steam,” Nimit Wanchaithanawong, the governor of Suphan Buri province, said. “It's been more than a week and the child is so young. These few days will be very critical to all of us.”

The dragnet for the missing child was launched Wednesday and involved hundreds of volunteers, police officers and soldiers. A team of divers also searched nearby ponds in hopes to find clues.

Police also enlisted the help of mahouts and their elephants to search the large plantation fields because they can sense the presence of life, Laithongrien Meepan, the elephants' owner, said.

“If we find a child, or dogs lying around, they know not to step on that,” Laithongrien said. “Mahouts can look out into the distance and elephants will raise their trunks to smell.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Anantara keeps elephant charity alive

BANGKOK, 21 December 2018: Anantara Hotels and Resorts will launch a new event, a weeklong festival to raise money for Thai National Elephant Day, to replace its elephant polo charity event that has been discontinued.

Last month, the Thailand Elephant Polo Association confirmed it would not seek permission for a 2019 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in 2019.

The final elephant polo event was hosted by the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort, earlier this year, an annual event that over the years has raised more than USD1.5 million to improve the welfare of Thailand’s domesticated elephants.

Replacing the debunked elephant polo event, the new charity project promotes a pre-event stay at Anantara Golden Triangle that overlooks the Mekong River in Chiang Rai province, 13 March 2019.

Guests can interact with domestic elephants in a natural habitat created in the resort’s parkland before moving to Bangkok for the signature event to raise cash for the care of Thai elephants. Staged at Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, spectators will be able to watch the first ever “elephant boat races” 15 to 17 March.

International teams that usually participate in the age-old cultural tradition of dragon boat racing will paddle what the organisers call “unique elephant themed and designed boats”, creating a colourful sporting event for spectators, while driving fundraising for elephants.

It promises to be an action packed weekend filled out with concerts, food, educational elephant expos, family fun and parties and fireworks all with the goal of fundraising for elephant conservation and welfare.

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Monday, December 17, 2018


The management at Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand has been ordered by the country’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to remove two thin elephants from the park’s performance schedule until their health improves.

Following an outpour of complaints about the emaciated condition of the animals at Samutprakarn, officials examined them on Wednesday, according to spokesperson Sompote Maneerat.

The two elephants who have been removed from the circus-like acts are reportedly underweight because they lost some of their teeth and couldn’t chew food properly, which affected their ability to absorb nutrients — though management has also claimed to keep the animals thin so they’re able to perform dangerous tricks.

To rehabilitate the elephants’ health, the agency recommended that zoo management use pellet and chopped feed. They made the same recommendation for a half-blind horse who was not used in any shows but was found in the same condition as the elephants.

While the physical aspects of the zoo were, shockingly, approved by the inspectors, they suggested ways for the zoo to improve the quality of life of the confined animals, such as chimpanzees and tigers.

The zoo’s license was also out-of-date, the officials discovered. It had expired in April 2016 and the zoo was instructed to submit additional documents upon seeking renewal. However, this has not yet been done.

While we’re happy that the elephants are receiving a much-needed break from performing, we believe that it’s in their best interests to never have to perform again, or endure the decrepit conditions at this zoo, which fails miserably to provide the environment or care that wild animals need.

Lady Freethinker has started a petition campaigning for the elephants to be removed from Samutprakarn and relocated to a sanctuary, where they may live out the rest of their lives in freedom and peace.

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Record ivory haul in Cambodia lays bare horrible fate of nearly 500 elephants

Cambodia seized more than 3.2 tonnes of elephant tusks hidden in a storage container sent from Mozambique, a customs official said Sunday, marking the country’s largest ivory bust.

The discovery Thursday of 1,026 tusks at the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port followed a tip from the US embassy, the official said, and highlights Cambodia’s emergence as a key regional transit point for the multibillion dollar trade in illicit wildlife.

“The elephant tusks were hidden among marble in a container that was abandoned,” Sun Chhay, director of the Customs and Excise Office at the port, said.

He said the ivory was sent from the southern African nation of Mozambique and arrived at the port last year.

The unidentified owner of the shipment did not arrive to pick up the cargo.

Pictures of the massive haul showed long rows of confiscated tusks spread out on the ground at the port.

Sun Chhay said he did not know whether the shipment was destined for markets in other countries.

Demand from China and Vietnam has fuelled the growth of illegal wildlife trafficking via Cambodia.

Weak law enforcement and corruption attract wildlife smugglers, especially at a time when neighbouring Thailand is cracking down on the banned trade.

Ivory is prized for its beauty while the market in traditional medicine has led to the smuggling of rhino horn and pangolin scales.

Cambodia has a minuscule elephant population but its emergence as a new trafficking hub has resulted in several headline-grabbing busts over the past five years.

The largest before this week occurred in 2014, when Cambodian customs seized about three tonnes of ivory hidden in a container of beans at the southwestern port of Sihanoukville.

Last year, Cambodia also seized nearly a tonne of ivory hidden in hollowed-out logs discovered inside an abandoned container, owned by a company based in Mozambique.

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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Wild elephants in Asia have been swallowing plastic trash

Last summer a pilot whale was found dead on a beach in
southern Thailand. The cause of death, it soon transpired, was the large amounts of
plastic waste in its stomach, including 80 plastic bags, that the mammal had accidentally swallowed.

Yet it isn’t just whales and other sea creatures that are affected by the scourge of plastic waste. So too are land animals, like elephants. Wild elephants living in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand, a UNESCO World Heritage site home to some 300 pachyderms, have been swallowing plastic rubbish. We know this because locals discovered plastic shopping bags, bags of chips and other plastic waste in their dung left behind on a local highway. It’s likely that the elephants accidentally swallow plastic wrappings when they go hunting for treats left behind by people at trashcans.

For elephants too ingesting plastic trash can have lethal consequences. Earlier this year a postmortem examination on a 20-year-old female elephant, which was found dead in a forested area in the Indian state of Kerala, showed the pachyderm’s alimentary canal had been blocked with lengthy pieces of plastic. The female jumbo suffered internal bleeding, which led to a failure of her vital organs.

In local forests too plastic waste has been seen in the dung of wild elephants.

India and Thailand are among the world’s largest producers of plastic waste. Thailand alone generates more than 1 million tons of it each year. Measures are underway around the Southeast Asian nation to try and change that. Local retail chains, including Tesco Lotus, have been making efforts, if rather halfheartedly so, to wean shoppers off their prodigious use of disposable plastic bags.

Meanwhile, the country’s National Park Office recently announced a ban on all plastic bags and Styrofoam containers in Thailand’s 154 national parks so as to reduce the amounts of plastic rubbish left behind by visitors.

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