How Do You Save an Elephant?

November 28, 2019

PARDON ME for veering so far off-topic, but this is one of those situations where I can’t help myself.

Cruelty to animals enrages me to a degree that few things can. Cruelty to elephants, in particular, pushes that rage to the maximum extent possible. Because, while I mean no disrespect to pangolins, sharks, or any of the other fauna being systematically massacred by humans, elephants are nothing if not the most impressive creatures on earth. The (very) close encounters I’ve had with elephants, both wild and captive (in Botswana, Sri Lanka and Namibia, among other places) only intensifies how I feel.

The photo and caption that you see above is part of a listicle that popped up in the newsfeed on my phone on Thanksgiving afternoon. It’s from National Geographic, under the title, “These are our best animal photos of 2019.”

That’s “best” in a rather malleable sense. Presumably the intent is to avoid romanticizing and idealizing nature photography, a too-common affliction of the genre. And good for that. Except they’ve also left me, and hopefully others too, pissed off.

So, help me out. What’s the best way to get that Gluay Hom of his miserable circumstances? Is there a way, short of flying to Thailand an organizing a mob?

Surely there are thousands of captive animals around the globe in as much or more distress. I’m aware of that. But you need to start somewhere, and in this case it’s relatively easy to track down the essential logistics.

Here is the full article from National Geographic (you need to be a subscriber). The author is Natashy Daly. The person who took the picture is Kirsten Luce.

The name of the facility is Samutprakarn Crocodile Park and Zoo (the name is spelled wrong in the article). Apparently the place has been in existence since 1950, and from what TripAdvisor has to say, Gluay Hom the elephant is hardly the only animal there being maltreated. The reviews are dreadful. According to Wikipedia, the Washington Post has reported on Samultprakarn’s abuse of animals. There’s no website, but Samutprakarn’s number is (66) 2 703 4891.

Digging around the various Thai governmental sites, I couldn’t find anything that really seemed appropriate. Closest would be the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. Its email contact is: webmaster@dnp.go.th

If anyone has ideas, please share them below…

 

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8 Responses to “How Do You Save an Elephant?”
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  1. Jeffrey Latten says:

    So sad to see these poor animals tortured and abused like this. I don’t know that there’s just one solution to all of it, but thank for bringing this to our attention.

  2. dbCooper says:

    Patrick: As regards your statement “Surely there are thousands of captive animals around the globe in as much or more distress. I’m aware of that. But you need to start somewhere…. ”

    If unaware of this parable it may be of interest:

    One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

    Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.

    The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

    The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”

    *author unknown to me

    Best regards

  3. jml says:

    Patrick..follow the link to saveelephant.org and have some of your faith in humanity restored. The incomporable Lek Chailert has created a haven for the worst treated elephants. She’s truly an inspiration.

  4. LMWilliams says:

    Saveelephant.org
    The people who run this organization have experience with Samutprakarn Crocodile Park and have rescued one elephant already from them. They probably are aware of the situation but it seems like the owner of the “park” is not the most cooperative.

  5. LMWilliams says:

    Saveelephant.org
    The people who run the sanctuary have experience with Samutprakarn Crocodile Park and have rescued one elephant already from them. They probably are aware of the situation but it seems like the owner of the park”

  6. LMWilliams says:

    Thaielephantrefuge.org

  7. Edwin van Geelen says:

    One organisation that might be able to assist is Boon Lotts Elephant Sanctuary (https://www.blesele.org/). I have no personal experience with them, but I’ve heard good things. One of my Twitter friends has been there, and she is quite enthusiastic.