Posts Tagged ‘Eco-tourism’

And the winner is… Susan Allsbrook

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Congratulations, Susan Allsbrook! Susan won the Free Trip for 2 in Thailand from Intrepid Travel.

The Trip: Northern Thailand is among the greatest adventure destinations on the planet and this journey reveals why: hiking among hill tribes, sailing its rivers, and calling into friendly and colorful villages along the way. This 15-day journey will take her from the chaotic streets of Bangkok to the serene countryside and offer a glimpse into this fascinating country. Plus, during her adventure, Susan will visit the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Hospital and meet Motala and Mosha, two of the elephants featured in “The Eyes of Thailand” documentary.

As promised, ALL DONORS WHO SELECTED THIS PERK WILL GET TO CHOOSE BETWEEN AN “EYES OF THAILAND” POSTER, T-SHIRT OR WATER BOTTLE. You will receive an email within the week to select your preference.

The Ugly Truth about Elephant Rides

Friday, September 10th, 2010

ElephantVoices, a non-profit organization whose goals are to advance the study of elephant cognition, communication and social behavior, and to promote the scientifically sound and ethical management and care of elephants, posted the following article on their blog on September 9, 2010:

Have you ever thought that an elephant back safari must be the best and most exciting experience of all? That riding on one of these magnificent animals would be a unique adventure – believing that they are well suited for this kind of human entertainment?

The brutal truth is that most elephants are trained for elephant back rides or safaris through a practise no elephant owner will talk about. The elephants’ spirits are broken through unbelievably gruesome methods, while they are tied up or chained in a pen where they cannot move. With the help of systematic torture over days and weeks, often without water or food, an elephant learns that he or she has to obey human control. Later, at work, many mahouts use the bullhooks frequently to feel certain that the elephant does not annoy their customers, and stay in line. Beatings, wounds, painful body marks and blood is often seen even by the very tourists who are paying a high price to have the “experience of a lifetime”. The video below is from Burma, but the same type of procedure continues to be used in parts of Thailand. In Thailand this sad and highly abusive tradition is often called Phajaan.

The majority of elephants found in circuses and zoos were captured from the wild – the same goes for trekking elephants. The practice continues today, and with the growing number of tourists and many ignorant travel agencies and tour operators, the life and well being of hundreds of elephants both in Asia and in Africa is at stake….

One way you can help is by signing “A Petition to The Flight Centre Encouraging Corporate Responsibility“. Travel agencies that include elephant back rides and entertainment in their programs should be told that this is unacceptable. We believe that most tourists would stay far away if they knew what kind of treatment elephant goes through before they are ready for work. There are good places in Thailand where you can experience elephants close up, but you should never get on their back! The worst kind of brutality lays behind many other types of elephant entertainment, too, read more here on ElephantVoices and via online initiatives like Elemotion.

But the best way you can help is to convince friends who are considering going on an elephant ride or trek that they shouldn’t. If enough tourists stop expecting/demanding to ride elephants when they visit Southeast Asia, then the elephant owners will stop offering rides.  It’s a simple Supply-and-Demand relationship.

To find our more about ElephantVoices, or to see one example of phajaan filmed by Timothy Gorski, please visit their web site. Thank you.

-Windy Borman

Director/Producer The Eyes of Thailand

9 Ways to Help Elephants

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Dr. Joyce Poole, the Co-Founder of ElephantVoices, has compiled a list of 8 things everyone can do to help elephants:

  1. Spread the Word
  2. Don’t Visit Circuses that Exhibit Elephants
  3. Don’t go on an Elephant-Back Safari or Trek
  4. Be an Eco-tourist
  5. Don’t Wear Ivory
  6. Support Elephant Conservation Efforts
  7. Support Efforts to Improve the Lives of Elephants in Zoos
  8. Ensure that your Local Zoo does not Import Elephants from the Wild

And I’ll add #9: Support the elephant conservation documentary, The Eyes of Thailand, with a tax-deductible donation to the film by clicking here.  It will take you to the secure online donation page for the film’s fiscal sponsor, the San Francisco Film Society.

For more information, please visit the ElephantVoices website.

ElephantVoices‘ mission is to inspire wonder in the intelligence, complexity and voices of elephants, and to secure a kinder future for them through research and the sharing of knowledge.  Their goals are to advance the study of elephant cognition, communication and social behavior, and to promote the scientifically sound and ethical management and care of elephants.

Dr. Joyce Poole.  Photo by ElephantVoices.

Dr. Joyce Poole. Photo by ElephantVoices.

Joyce Poole has a Ph.D. in elephant behavior from Cambridge University, and has studied the social behavior and communication of elephants for over thirty years, dedicating her life to their conservation and welfare. Her contributions to science include the discovery of musth in male African elephants, the description of the contextual use of elephant vocalizations, including those below the level of human hearing, and the discovery of vocal imitation.

-Windy Borman

Producer, Writer and Director, The Eyes of Thailand