"We will do whatever possible to protect our elephants. Today I prepare to go to jail but the fight for my animals and justice will never stop." - Lek
Please help me to create change! We really can make a difference if we work together.
Sangduen 'Lek' Chailert is the Founder of the Elephant Nature Park (ENP) in Chiang Mai; she rescues elephants from exploitation and has spent her life looking after these gorgeous and wonderful creatures.
I started this petition because Lek truly is an inspiration. She works tirelessly to create change in Thailand. All her life she has devoted her time, energy and money to looking after sick, injured, lame and disabled elephants. She has been involved in re-educating locals and foreigners about elephant treatment, she is trying to put a stop to elephant trafficking within Thailand and she rescues/gives medical assistance to abused and exploited elephants as well as providing a safe haven in Chiang Mai for these elephants.
The DNP (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation) has warned Lek that they could take 8 elephants from the ENP if the original registration papers are not obtained (she only has a copy) AND possibly some of her land. One of the elephants, Jokia, is blind and if she is confiscated, she will be moved to a government facility, where Lek fears she could die. Elephants are social animals and moving her could be quite distressful. Jokia has already experienced enough pain and suffering at the hands of others and the ENP has been a safe haven for her since then.
The ENP has been raided 3 times by the DNP because someone sent a complaint to the DNP stating that Lek had wild elephants at the Park. These claims have been unfounded but the DNP may still take some of the elephants unless Lek gets the original papers from the original owners:
"There are 16 elephant camps in the area that have 78 elephants with no registration papers and no action has been taken against them by the DNP. Founder Sangduen 'Lek' Chailert questions the DNP's motivation behind the repeated targeting of her sanctuary which cares for old, sick and disabled elephants that have been rescued from the logging and trekking industries." (taken from http://elephantnaturepark.org/)
So far there has been no media coverage of the unjust treatment Lek and her elephants have encountered and I am worried that if there is none, this already endangered species will continue to fall victim to the tourism industry.
Within Thailand baby elephants are sold for US$32,000 to work in the tourist trade where they are “trained” into ‘learning tricks’ and providing rides for tourists (if they are taken from the wild, their mothers are often murdered). These elephants are put into a "crush" where their "spirit" is broken; many locals believe that this is the only way to control and manage an elephant. Lek has had to witness this procedure many times and has only been allowed to offer medical assistance to these elephants. The treatment is so brutal that some elephants die during the procedure:
http://youtu.be/SVckvi_gWVo Please click here if you want to see what a baby elephant must endure to be “trained” for tourist attractions. WARNING: this video is not for the faint hearted; some images may offend, shock or upset the viewer.
Through her park, Lek has demonstrated that an elephant does not need to be brutalised, harmed, hurt or injured to be controlled or managed by humans (she promotes the "click-reward" technique). She has proven that elephants and humans can work harmoniously alongside one another without resorting to brutality. However, change takes time and she is patiently working with locals and the community to change the cruel and unjust attitudes/practices exhibited by some people.
I started this petition therefore to stop the repeated attacks by the DNP, to promote Lek's amazing work, to educate others about the plight of the Asian Elephant and what the tourism industry (in some areas) really does to these beautiful creatures and to keep these elephants safe.
Lek is an amazing woman and I hope she is not put into jail simply for fighting for elephant rights. She is not a criminal and should not be treated like one!
Please help me to spread the word about what the DNP is doing to the ENP so we can put a stop to these attacks and continue to keep Lek's vision alive, "To protect and conserve elephants in a natural environment and to provide a healthy and fruitful life for all those under our care".
We really can make a difference if we work together. For more information about the raids, please watch the following video:
And read the following article:
You can tell the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, DC that you disapprove by filling in this form (it will only take two minutes of your time):
For more information about the park, to donate, volunteer or visit please go to:
Thank you so much for all your support!