Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Elephant Polo is out!

The Guinness World Records dropped Elephant Polo statistics.   You can read the story at:

Photo from article above, NOT my work!
This was was never going to be my favorite sport anyway.

Abundant Blessings

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A good story from Australia

The below link is about an elephant handler in Melbourne.  I enjoyed it and thought I'd share it with you.  After all, it's nice to report something on the positive side of the ledger from time to time.


Abundant Blessings,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Parade of Shame

Just when I thought I'd seen all of the abuse the elephant in Thailand must endure I received a link to this really disgusting story.   In another context I commented that Pattaya has become a sewer, this certainly supports that comment.  People actually pay money to see this abuse, and by doing so are contributing to the shame.

The whole story is at Daily Mail Article on Elephant Shame

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sad Story. The Elephant Should be out of the Zoo.

I received the below link from a dear friend a few minutes ago.   Her comment is the subject line of this article.  Personally I think she's 100% correct!

Trainer crushed by elephant at Tennessee zoo - Yahoo! News

The story was also reported at:


In the few minutes it took to put this on line, I received yet another very sad story.

Elephant run over by train (India)
The Assam Tribune
January 14, 2010

 AGARTALA, Jan 14 – An elephant was killed when it was hit by a running train at Atharamura hill range, about 70 km from here, Forest department sources said today.Sources said the incident occurred last evening, when a female elephant with three calves were crossing the railway track, and an Agartala-bound train from Silchar hit the elephant when the calves had crossed the track.
Sources said, the calves were unharmed and added a group of elephants went on the rampage after the incident and damaged crop fields in the area. The carcass of the elephant was recovered by the forest officials with the help of police.
Tripura Forest Minister, Jitendra Chowdhury said altogether three elephants were killed in the State this year due to different reasons.

Article at the following link:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bike for Elephants.

Bike for Elephants

Today was the first day of Bike for Elephants.  I was there!  Antionette van de water and her 58 volunteers who made the trip from the Mae Rim Lagoon Resort to the Elephant Nature Park today.  New friends were made, and I was able to catch up with a few old one! It was a great day and the monies raised by this event will go to helping the development of the elephant forest. 

I will soon post the photo’s from today and let you know when they are ready.  In the meantime here are just a couple of my favorites from the day. 

And they are on their way! 

Coming through the gate to the Elephant Nature Park

Group photo 15 January 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Off the Streets, at Least for Now

Here is a good news story, the source is from an anonymous interview with MyChiangMai.com

Day before yesterday, there was a statement from the Chiang Mai councilor, who said  that
over 20 elephants and their mahouts (handlers) have been forced out of the city by the police.

It was reported that on December 28th most of the mahouts in Chiang Mai were rounded up and taken to Mae Ping police station. During a 7 hour meeting, they were told they were breaking the law as well as harming the elephants and causing road safety hazards, and given 2 days to leave or be arrested, fined heavily and possibly jailed. Almost all the mahouts complied and organized trucks to move their animals, most returning to their home province of Surin where the Governor has a program to pay them to stay.

Twenty-four hours later, only 2 elephants were still being paraded around tourist areas, mahouts begging for money to feed them. (Some mahouts have been 'earning' up to 8,000b per night and using mobile
phones between them to avoid police).  The source said that after a police 'reminder', the last 2 also left
hastily for Surin, where they claim the Governor's grant is not enough for them and their animals to live on.

Chiang Mai's clean up comes some months after a similar, successful operation in Bangkok, and when MyChiangMai questioned business operators in the Night Bazaar and Thapae Gate areas, all agreed that
no elephant begging teams had been since since New Year's Eve.

The “clean-up” comes only weeks after a mahout appeared in court accused of attacking a young Australian couple with his metal hook after they complained of his treatment of an elephant. On the
same day, Save Elephant Foundation director Sangduen 'Lek' Chailert and supporters presented a petition of over 100,000 signatures to the provincial Governor, protesting elephant begging. See
The Elephants Voice Magazine On Line

Surin is a province with incredible food shortages and more domestic elephants than it can really support.  The Governor of Surin does have a program which pays the elephant owners to keep their elephants at home.  This program is admirable and I’m sure represents their best effort.  Sadly, the mahouts who have told interviewers that the government stipend is insufficient are largely correct.  These people are accustomed to a much higher income from begging than they receive from staying at home.  The income question plus the lack of food for the elephants beg to ask just how long will it be before the elephants return? 
Be it in Chiang Mia or elsewhere, If you do happen to see an elephant on the streets, report it to the police and to the Save Elephant Foundation.  Do not give money to the “mahouts” and do not confront them.  Some of them have proven themselves to be a vicious cowards who will attack from behind.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The plight of the elephant, 2 cases in point

“Anyone who thinks he understands the situation here simply does not know the facts” [1]  40 plus years later it’s as true as it ever was and certainly applies to the plight of the Asian Elephant.

1.  Elephants Butchered and sold

Surin province is the home of way too many domestic elephants.  The people there are faced with problems of insufficient land, not enough food and not enough good water.  Good people have made good efforts but they are not enough.  Any time, any place that there are problems of sufficiency up crops the greedy to worsen the situation.  .

A couple of days ago I heard that a temple in Surin was selling the remains of deceased elephants.  Below is the article that appeared in one of the prominent English Language newspapers here in Thailand. Judgment I will leave to those who think they understand the situation, or at least have enough information and influence to try to affect change.

Click This -->>  Elephants Butchered at temple in Surin <<---Click 

One thing I do know for certain is that when we were in Surin we saw a lot of sick elephants.  Tong Tae was one example

Tusks to support

Tong Tae was so tired

2. Street Begging Mahouts attack Tourist!

There is a lot of politics around the subject of street begging elephants. As I now understand it, street begging is actually big business in Thailand.  Elephants are owned by business men who rent them to young wannabe mahouts who in turn make their living by forcing the elephants to beg on the city streets.  Much has been written on the subject.   Suffice it to say, street begging is bad for the elephant and should be banned.
Street Beggar from Surin
In Chiang Mai there is pressure to stop the begging.  It’s not uncommon to see people passing out flyers encouraging people to refuse to give money to the mahouts and to refuse to feed the elephants.  Recently there were two elephants that showed up in a bar in Chiang Mai while there were several tourists who were against the street begging.  They were passing out flyers and asked the mahouts to take there elephants off the streets.  No confrontation occurred at the bar.

A short time two Australians left the bar.  Without warning they were attacked from behind by a band of Thai men with elephant hooks and knives.   The young man had to be hospitalized for head wounds.  His female companion received superficial wounds as well.  Apparently they were detracted from their attack by several local Thai people who worked in the area of the attack, a man passing by in a car and the baby elephant who was the subject of the protest in the first place.  What I write here is all hear say, I was not present.  I have talked to several people involved and am most impressed by the story of the elephant actually interceding!
The Australian man received several stitches in his head.  He was released from the hospital a few days later and is now recovered. 

The police became involved and a court date was set. Only one of the attackers was brought to trial. I’ll not speculate as to why he, and not the others, was taken to court.  Typical the hearing was postponed, a delaying tactic known to any defense attorney here or anywhere else in the world.  As people were eaving the courthouse that day a friend of mine, who happens to have an excellent command of the Thai language, overheard a policeman tell the father of the accused that everything had been taken care of.  In other words the hoodlum would receive no punishment for his vicious attack.

Other officials have expressed a desire for  court to make an example of him.  There are people actively involved in seeking witnesses and trying to convince them to testify.  In addition to the area employees, there is an interest in somehow finding the man in the car.

Hopefully this story will end with a real banning of street begging in Chiang Mai.  The photo’s in this page were taken at different times and are not intended to represent the actual attacker. 
Working the streets

[1]  Unidentified CIA agent who was quoting an unidentified diplomat in South East Asia during the 1960’s. (See "Air America", page 94, by Christopher Robbins).