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Wildlife Fund Thailand Is Calling For Inspection Of 8 Elephants To Be Sent To Australia

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Wildlife Fund Thailand is calling for inspection of 8 elephants to be sent to Australia

The Wildlife Fund Thailand is calling on responsible units to use a scientific procedure to inspect whether the eight elephants to be sent to Australia were wild or domesticated elephants. The organization is asking for a temporary halt to the shipment.

Mr. Suraphol Duangkhae (สุรพล ดวงแข), the Wildlife Fund Thailand Secretary-General, said the conservationists who have been following on the issue of sending eight elephants to Australia have requested that responsible agencies move in to inspect whether these creatures were wild or domesticated.

The group stated that at present the shipment of baby elephants to foreign zoos are carried out in the name of diplomacy, and most of the time illicit conducts are carried out by the state itself. The Muang Kan (เมืองกาญจน์) Group had already made filing at the Saiyok (ไทรโยค) police station to ask for temporary confiscation of all the elephants, until they were proven to be domesticated elephants and be verified of their parents.

Mr. Suraphol said such verification was resolved for use but in practice no real inspection has ever been made.

Source: Thai National News Bureau Public Relations Department - 06 June 2006

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Thai elephants in limbo during protest

The transfer of eight Asian elephants to Australian zoos was in limbo after animal rights activists prevented trucks from carrying the animals to the airport, arguing they would suffer abroad.

At least two rights activists blocked the trucks late Monday, stopping them from leaving a quarantine station in the western Thai province of Kanchanaburi.

The standoff continued on Tuesday, with a handful of activists mingling outside the station and the elephants still in cages on the trucks.

Soraida Salwala, founder of the Thai group Friends of the Asian Elephant, said they were concerned about the animals' welfare, claiming the elephants - to be part of a captive breeding program - would suffer in the confines of the zoos and that the program would not help conserve the species.

Soraida Salwala said she would withdraw if the elephants were put back in their stables and the Thai government discussed the issue with the activists.

"I don't want to see elephants in distress," she told The Associated Press by telephone.

"They shouldn't have done this in the first place."

The authorities had planned to fly the elephants to a temporary home in Australia's Cocos islands where they were to be quarantined for three months.

Australian officials said they were "perplexed" by the actions of the protesters since the two governments had signed agreements in 2004 clearing the way for the transfer.

"I am perplexed and surprised that this would happen, given that we had complete agreement between our governments and have been so fully committed to our long-term relationship to contribute to vital wildlife conservation projects in Thailand," Guy Cooper, head of the Consortium of Australasian Zoos, said in a statement.

The transfer had already been held up for more than a year as animal rights groups in both countries fought against the move.

An Australian court in December cleared the way for the transfer to Sydney's Taronga Zoo and the Melbourne Zoo as long as the zoos met certain conditions guaranteeing the elephants' welfare.

Taronga Zoo has spent $A40 million on a new enclosure with hot and cold bathing areas, an elephant exercise area, waterfalls and ponds and specially designed "sleeping mounds" for the pachyderms.

Source: The Age - June 6, 2006

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National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Dep. says pedigree of the 8 elephants will be inspected once again

The National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department has asserted that the pedigree of the eight elephants to be sent to Australia will be inspected once again to foster transparency.

Department Director-General Damrong Phidet (ดำรงค์ พิเดช) spoke on the preparations to send eight Thai elephants to Australia under the project to exchange animals between the Thai government and the Australian government. Mr. Damrong said he took office after the signing in the matter, and he will ask related agencies to bring forth the documents for another inspection in order to relieve the suspicion by the public. He said if the documents were found to have been forged in order to indicate the elephants were domesticated rather than wild then prosecution will be sought even after the elephants have been sent to Australia, and they would be brought back to Thailand should that be the case.

In the meantime, Chawal Thanhikorn (ชวาล ทัฬหิกรณ์), the deputy director-general of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said the processes have already progressed beyond the responsibility of his department, especially document inspection in accordance with the CITES set of regulations. Elephants are protected wild animals under CITES. Legitimacy in their importation and exportation had to be ensured under the framework even if they were domesticated.

Source: Thai National News Bureau Public Relations Department - 06 June 2006

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cant really understand why it matters; there are too many 'used and abused' elephants in thailand w/no home and no food, and not sure why someone would bring a 'wild' elephant if there are so many 'captive bred/raised' elephants that are unemployed at the moment. A zoo is not really a bad alternative... the genetic pool of thai elephants is still fairly large and at this point captive bred/wild doesnt make a difference.... sounds something political to me.... since there are several elephant rescue groups w/elephants in need of food/housing and the 'wild' areas livable to elephants seem to be shrinking in size.... and elephants are very very expensive to maintain....

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Testing of elephant DNA is not possible

The Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment will go ahead with the plan to send eight Thai elephants to Australia.

Natural Resource and Environment Minister Yongyut Tiyapairat (ยงยุทธ ติยะไพรัช) said the testing DNA of elephants, as called for by animal rights activists, was not possible as nowhere in the world could do that.

He insisted that all those elephants were domesticated, and not from the wild. He said these elephants are to be exchanged with Australia’s koalas for learning purposes.

Source: Thai National News Bureau Public Relations Department - 07 June 2006

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"A zoo is not really a bad alternative....." : my question is a bit off-topic but when I see how a zoo in Alaska has to "please" its live-stock because the invironment doesn't fit the animal:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/20...9_elephant.html

than I say: better being a "begging-elephant" in BKK. (to prevent angry answers about these BKK elephants: I am against this treatment as well!)

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s2_copy3.jpg

Elephants return to Mahidol University’s animal hospital in Kanchanaburi yesterday after environmentalists fought against them being shipped to Australia.

Source: The Nation - 7 June 2006

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cant really understand why it matters; there are too many 'used and abused' elephants in thailand w/no home and no food, and not sure why someone would bring a 'wild' elephant if there are so many 'captive bred/raised' elephants that are unemployed at the moment. A zoo is not really a bad alternative...

Would you be happy to be put behind bars with reasonable care from your capturer? I guess not. It doesn't matter whether they are domesticated or wild, no animals should be in the zoos for the pleasure of human. Don't tell me this is a research project, it's the entry fees that the zoo is most interested in.

Elephants in the zoo, Taronga zoo in particular, are very distressed, are chained all day and night, are isolated from their native and other animals. The environment is completely different from where they were born and raised. In Sydney and Melbourne it's very cold and dry in winter, temperature can fall to a few degrees above zero. They are kept far away from human, unlike in Thailand where they are in close contact with mahou.

Oh! fyi, not too many 'used and abused elephants in Thailand', most of them are working elephants when they're young and then could be sold off to tourist places when they get older.

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cant really understand why it matters; there are too many 'used and abused' elephants in thailand w/no home and no food, and not sure why someone would bring a 'wild' elephant if there are so many 'captive bred/raised' elephants that are unemployed at the moment. A zoo is not really a bad alternative...

Would you be happy to be put behind bars with reasonable care from your capturer? I guess not. It

doesn't matter whether they are domesticated or wild, no animals should be in the zoos for the pleasure of human. Don't tell me this is a research project, it's the entry fees that the zoo is most interested in.

Elephants in the zoo, Taronga zoo in particular, are very distressed, are chained all day and night, are isolated from their native and other animals. The environment is completely different from where they were born and raised. In Sydney and Melbourne it's very cold and dry in winter, temperature can fall to a few degrees above zero. They are kept far away from human, unlike in Thailand where they are in close contact with mahou.

Oh! fyi, not too many 'used and abused elephants in Thailand', most of them are working elephants when they're young and then could be sold off to tourist places when they get older.

I totally agree with the above post.

Although I get upset and annoyed whenever I see an elephant struggling through the traffic clogged tourist areas of Bangkok at night, (apparently it's illegal, but T.I.T.) I am pleased that there is a chance that these animals in the news might get to stay in their native land.

In Victorian times when the world was being discovered on a major scale, shipping back every kind of wild animal to European zoos was "acceptable", but we are now in the 21st century and IMHO an animal should live and die in an environment as close as possible to it's native land.

Keeping an elephant in an Alaskan zoo is as insane as keeping a polar bear in a Bangkok zoo. Zoos are prisons for animals where curious tourists, adults and children come to gawk at them.

Some of the so called zoos in Thailand run by rich, powerful figures are merely money making operations with little regard for animal welfare. (Orang utans and tigers come to mind.)

Better for the governments to arrange environment awareness trips than to allow these transfers.

Elephants can not realistically be used in forestry (logging) anymore in Thailand but at least they are kept in jungle camps near rivers where they can be used for tourist attractions .

Edited by ratcatcher

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s2_copy3.jpg

Elephants return to Mahidol University’s animal hospital in Kanchanaburi yesterday after environmentalists fought against them being shipped to Australia.

Source: The Nation - 7 June 2006

:o:D:D:D

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The picture clearly shows that the elephants in question are not wild elephants, a ridiculous speculation to begin with.

Given the few opportunities for employment in Thailand, it is probably a good thing to send some of the elephants out of the country. Some of the smaller elephant camps (pang chang) in Thailand struggle to survive and are very poor homes for elephants, perhaps worse homes than zoos outside the country. The large and well tended camps, like up at Mae Sa, are pretty much maxed out relative to population so many elephanst now end up in these smaller places where their health declines rapidly. Life for the elephants that are unemployed and not residing in a tourist camp is a depressing situation indeed. It is a national disgrace that the national symbol of the Thai nation has not had set aside a reserve where unwanted elephants may live out their lives. It would be nice if the elephants could stay in their native land, but the native land is no longer capable of supporting the elephants and the people of the native land, apart from a few individuals, simply do not care.

But care should be given to the quality of the destination. No elephants should be exported to zoos where they will be confined inside in a cage. Any elephant enclosure must have an acre or two outdoors for exercise. And no elephant should be exported to a facility where there are fewer than three elephants in residence. Elephants are very social animals and to have an elephant kept by itself is nothing less than solitary confinement and should be seen as cruel punishment. Moving eight elephants as a group to a zoo with a well thought out elephant enclosure is perhaps a good thing.

Australia has one of the world's leading zoo designers in residence, David Hancocks. Those involved need only defer to his opinion as to whether the destination zoo of these elephants is up to par.

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Conservationists demand PM Thaksin order DNA tests of eight elephants

Conservationists will ask caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to order DNA examinations of eight elephants bound for Australia.

Surapol Duangkhae (สุรพล ดวงแข), chairman of Wildlife Fund Thailand, said members of the examination panel must be neutral and at least three of them must be veterinarians.

Conservation groups are protesting against the exchange of these eight elephants with koalas and red pandas from Australia. They suspected some were wild elephants and that was why they demande DNA testing.

Mr. Surapol called on the government to give the public details of the animal exchange deal and the benefits for Thailand.

Source: Thai National News Bureau Public Relations Department - 09 June 2006

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for all the anti zoo people;

most modern zoos dont have bars, they have yards that are large; some zoos work on the 'no contact' or 'limited contact' with their large animals especially if they were wild born or are part of a release program;

the elephants at the jerusalem zoo have a high contact set up; free run in the a.m. w/their thai mahouts around the very large sprawling zoo, they are also used to clear tree clippings, branches, etc and they haul their own food,etc to provide them with action and variety in their day... the r.g. zoo has a dinky awful yard, no contact and ,in my knwlegeable opinion, terrible conditions, but their pregnancy rate and return rate is much higher for the asian elephants....

some zoos are awful, nowadays modern zoos have modern facilties, with more care and thought given to the animal inhabitants rather then the needs of the customers and it is hard to remember that there is a balance to be kept between keeping a zoo w/interesting exhibiits for the humans to see, and the breeding/research/release programs that often have less interesting animals that are equally important to ecology sysytems that are behind the scenes that u dont see.... fortunately for elephants, they are interesting as an exhibit and therefore time and money and thought is put into their exhibits.... alaska is of course a bad example.... however many donators of money stipulate a particular exhibit for a zoo, w/o taking into consideration climate, yard size, etc.... i've turned down many an interesting animal due to this very problem (lack of food/vet care etc for a particular species)

(we close off exhibits regardless of people when we have births, illness, or new animals introduced, even if the customers are angry that they paid to 'see all the animals' -- and my small zoo is a petting zoo w/mostly farm animals, and some captive born spotted deer, for instance)

what johpa has stated is the truth

btw, red pandas (the price of the trade for the elephants) are more problematic; the j-m zoo received one and the climate here does not suit him; he was kept in clinic for 6 months w/air conditioning and only now adapting to our weather, i wonder why australia would send one to a thai zoo (havent heard that they have great zoos) w/a thai tropical climate.... but red pandas are small, dont move, and in my eyes, a not interesting exhibit so there will be no hew and cry about THEIR conditions in thailand......

bina

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Conservationists demand PM Thaksin order DNA tests of eight elephants

.....Conservationists will ask caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to order DNA examinations of eight elephants bound for Australia........

Conservation groups are protesting against the exchange of these eight elephants with koalas and red pandas from Australia. They suspected some were wild elephants and that was why they demande DNA testing....

Source: Thai National News Bureau Public Relations Department - 09 June 2006

I am a bit curious as to how DNA testing could possibly mark an elephant taken from a wild herd from an elephant born to a "domesticated" pachyderm. I am not aware of DNA samples being required of new-born elephants nor of any elephant DNA registry.

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1) A zoo in Australia is a helluva lot better than the streets of BKK .....

2) Zoos are for the most part (in the West) very humane decent places

3) Spreading out breeding stock across the world COULD prevent loss of a species

4) DNA testing ... if the animal is captive bred the chances are the parents are still alive and available for verification

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