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.Please credit and share this article with others using this link:

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…


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,…

Elephant racing festival highlights urgent need for shift to ethical tourism

As a festival featuring performing elephants in Vietnam approaches, Animals Asia calls on the country to transition to cruelty-free tourism and celebrations. The Dak Lak province Coffee Festival, due to take place from 9 to 16 March, celebrates the province’s achievements, including its historical connection to elephants, through a series of cultural events. As part of the celebrations, elephants will be forced to play football, race, swim and take part in tug-of-war for the amusement of locals and visiting tourists. But with Vietnam struggling to preserve their last remaining populations of wild elephants, Animals Asia has written to the government urging a transition away from exploitation. Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Department Manager Nguyen Tam Thanh said: “We absolutely support the celebration of Dak Lak province’s close cultural connection with elephants, but it is time to put the elephants’ welfare needs at the heart of that relationship. “Vietnam is struggling to save its last wild populations of elephants and if steps aren’t taken to embrace a culture of respect for them – not as an economic resource to exploit, but as an integral part of the ecosystem – then I’m afraid a vital part of this region’s identity and heritage will…

The last domesticated elephant in northern central highlands

Ya Tao now lives alone deep in the forest at Chu Mo Commune in Ia Pa District. As the forest continues to disappear, it takes almost two hours for its owner, Ksor Aluh, to walk to its place."I have to visit her every day to bring leaves and trees or take her to find food in the forest," Aluh said. "Food has become increasingly scare due to deforestation."According to Aluh, the two provinces of Gia Lai and Kon Tum in the northern central highlands used to be well-known for taming a large number of wild elephants. But the mighty animals have largely died due to war bombs, old age, and deforestation."Now Ya Tao is our only elephant left, and also the last in this northern central highlands region," he said. "My father-in-law bought her in 1990 to mate with his male elephant, Bak Xom. But Bak Xom and some other domesticated elephants in the area suddenly died from diseases in 1995, leaving her alone."Aluh said that after his father-in-law died, some people paid VND1.5 billion (USD65,217) to buy Ya Tao, but his family want to keep her because she is considered a sacred animal and pride of the family and…

BACKGROUNDER: Wildlife forensics leaps in criminal justice process

WILDLIFE FORENSICS’ INTENSIFYING ROLE IN ANIMAL POACHING CASES WILL BE AT PLAY ON TUESDAY WHEN JUDGES RULE ON PREMCHAI’S FATEAs 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…

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…

FG Launches Investigation Into Intercepted Wildlife Species To Vietnam, Hong Kong

LEADERSHIP-The federal government has commenced investigation into alleged trafficking of wildlife species to Vietnam and Hong Kong purported to have originated from Apapa Seaport, Lagos. The Vietnamese Customs Service had intercepted over 2,500 kilograms of pangolin scales and 600 kilograms of Ivory tusks as well as 8,200 kilograms of pangolin scales and 2,000 kilograms of Ivory were also intercepted by Hong Kong Custom Service. The minister of environment,Suleiman Hassan Zarma, stated this in Abuja yesterday while reacting to media reports on the seized items considered as valuable items and used as medicinal ingredients in parts of Asia, especially China. According to him, “The ministry has initiated investigation of the reported illegal trade by communicating officially with the Vietnamese and Hong Kong CITES management authority with a view to providing us with the documents that will be forwarded to the Nigerian Customs Service and INTERPOL for further investigation.” He pointed out that he was disappointed to receive information that Vietnamese Customs discovered concealed containers declared as consigning knocked wood by Vietnamese company, VIC Thanh Binh Import-Export Company Limited with its office address at Lien Hong Commune, Dan Phuong District, Hanoi. Zarma noted that the most worrisome aspect of the information was…

Graphic anti-wildlife-trafficking campaign tackles Vietnam’s pangolin problem

A bold new campaign launched in Ho Chi Minh City late last month focuses on pagodas and aims to educate Buddhists on the devastating impact of the illegal wildlife trade and the importance of these three species.Research has shown that fewer Vietnamese believe in the alleged medicinal properties of these animal parts than in the past.Despite increasing awareness and changes in attitude, massive shipments of ivory and pangolin scales continue to be sent to the country.HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — On Jan. 28, a graphic new anti-wildlife-trafficking campaign called “Be Their Bodhisattva” launched at a major pagoda here in Vietnam’s commercial center. Under the branch of Mahayana Buddhism widely practiced across Vietnam, a bodhisattva is someone who delays reaching nirvana in order to save others from suffering.The campaign, presented by the U.S.-based NGO WildAid and the Ho Chi Minh City-based Center of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment (CHANGE), revolves around hyper-realistic statues of an elephant, a rhino and a mother and child pangolin.These are not your average statues, however. The elephant’s tusks are broken and blood drips down the remaining ivory; all that is left of the rhino’s horn is a bloody stump; and scales have…

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…