Kata Rocks
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


Phuket elephant welfare park to offer respite from tourism

Phuket elephant welfare park to offer respite from tourism

PHUKET: A welfare park to provide care for elephants injured or retired from working in Phuket’s tourism industry will open in Thalang in August.

animalsenvironmenttourism
By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Saturday 14 May 2016, 10:14AM


The Elephant Nature Park (ENP) Phuket, a sibling venture to the ENP projects in Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Surin and Cambodia, will be located near the Khao Phra Thaew Wildlife Sanctuary, on 70 rai donated by Montree Todtan, former owner of At Hill Adventure Park in Chalong.

Sangduan “Lek” Chailert, founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, joined Mr Montree to inspect the site last week. Joining them was and Louise Rogerson, founder of the Elephant Asia Rescue and Survival foundation (EARS Asia), who will be Project Director at Elephant Nature Park Phuket.

“An elephant welfare camp in Phuket is a necessity,” Ms Lek told The Phuket News on Wednesday (May 11). “I investigated elephant camps here and found that many elephants are too old to work, some are blind, injured and too disabled to be sent home, then they die. It’s very sad.”

According to ENP Phuket, there are 26 elephant camps in Phuket with a total of 216 captive elephants used in the tourism industry for riding and performances. At some of the elephant camps, it has been reported that elephants... can give up to 30-40 rides per day in Phuket, the project noted.

“Almost every tourist here is presented with a tour package that includes elephant trekking, an elephant show or a baby elephant at a party. This is not impressive for the tourism image here,” Ms Lek said.

“I was asked by tourists why Phuket does not provide welfare care for its elephants. That is part of our motivation to open the park. Also, tourists must realise that wildlife is best seen roaming free and when more care is given to the animal,” she added.

Ms Lek’s credentials in elephant welfare are extensive. Born to a small hill tribe north of Chiang Mai in 1962, she has since been featured in documentaries produced by National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet and the BBC.

In 2010, she was invited to Washington DC to be honoured as one of six “Women Heroes of Global Conservation”. She was named one of Time Magazine’s “Heroes of Asia” for her work in conservation in 2005 and the Ford Foundation’s “Hero of the Planet” in 2001.

“Our new project, Elephant Nature Park Phuket will embrace a different type of elephant tourism. We will be removing the saddle and allowing our elephants to walk and forage naturally in the forest, to socialise with each other, to bathe and play in the lagoon, and to roam free,” ENP Phuket announced on Wednesday.

Laguna Golf Phuket

“Both local and foreign visitors will be able to learn about and enjoy seeing happy and relaxed elephants at our project. It’s a win-win for everyone… Times are truly changing for the Asian elephant and we thank you for being part of this change.”

Eleven elephants have been confirmed to be handed over to the park, Ms Lek said. Mr Montree will also bring elephants from his camp to the park, which will later be expanded to 100 rai,” she added.

Volunteers, vets and other specialists will be on hand to provide care for the pachyderms on site, and the number of visitors to the park will be limited.

“Thais will be able to enter the park free, but foreign tourists will be charged the same prices charged at ENP Chiang Mai,” Ms Lek said. As with the other ENP projects, the money raised will go directly to maintaining the welfare of the elephants and other wildlife on the reserve.

“We are now working with the Save Elephant Foundation, EARS Asia, the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand and officers from the Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Office in Thalang,” Ms Lek said.

“The park will not only be home to elephants, but also many other forms of wildlife,” she said.

Edwin Wiek, founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, voiced his strong support for the project: “Phuket is still a hell for wild animals, with tiger shows, elephant shows and wild animals in the city and at the beach at night, being exploited all over the island…

“Having the Elephant Nature Park on the island will set a new standard for animal welfare and start the change the island so badly needs,” he said,

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

LindaA | 17 May 2016 - 11:15:22

This is amazing good news.  I would so rather see this when in Phuket than ride on an enslaved animal.  Elephants need to be elephants.  They are beautiful, intelligent animals and will be much more appreciated in natural surroundings.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Patong Police hunting for foreigner wanted for $30k theft from exchange booth

Hahaha, the boys in the money booth thought they made the 'change of the month'. It must fee...(Read More)


Multi-tier prices at state hospitals now in effect in Phuket

Correct Oesi, Kaaskop with a single p means cheese-head in the Netherlands. Now do your homework and...(Read More)


Patong Police hunting for foreigner wanted for $30k theft from exchange booth

I thought one had to produce a passport for currency exchanges- clearly not!...(Read More)


Multi-tier prices at state hospitals now in effect in Phuket

I set here free after she killed all my rats! Say Kaaskop means Chees head in Holland ?...(Read More)


Multi-tier prices at state hospitals now in effect in Phuket

"This was the first time I read an article complete" So you are saying all former comment...(Read More)


Fatal epileptic asthma attack suspected as pickup crashes off road

Dek, thank you for labeling my comment highly respectful'. And, can you comment on the believe ...(Read More)


Multi-tier prices at state hospitals now in effect in Phuket

Red, yellow, green rating should be already published in english at least, as this discriminating pr...(Read More)


Phuket readies for Chulalongkorn Day

Look forward for a national holiday that partly can officially be celebrated on Chalong Pier. That p...(Read More)


Phuket readies for Chulalongkorn Day

I miss link between honouring a good King and tidy up tangles of cables from utility poles by volunt...(Read More)


Phuket jet-ski operators warned after Chinese tourists dangerously ‘buzzed’

Yeah, sure..."jet-ski owners in Phuket must obey the rules, drive jet-skis safely and not opera...(Read More)