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Samui Elephant Sanctuary wins ‘Responsible Thailand’ award in London

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Samui Elephant Sanctuary wins ‘Responsible Thailand’ award in London | The Thaiger
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The Samui Elephant Sanctuary is this year’s winner of the ‘Responsible Thailand’ award in the category of Animal Welfare for its work rescuing and rehabilitating elephants in Thailand. The award was presented by His Excellency Mr. Pipat Ratchakitprakan, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports at the World Travel Market in London.

The same award was won by Elephant Nature Park last year. The Samui Elephant Sanctuary is a ‘sister’ sanctuary in Chiang Mai, highlighting the growing movement to save elephants from the trekking and ‘elephant ride’ industry.

Samui Elephant Sanctuary was the first ethical elephant sanctuary on Koh Samui in southern Thailand and is successfully freeing elephants from a lifetime of servitude, and at the same time pioneering ethical eco-tourism on the island. Since opening in January 2018 its owners have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the plight of the Asian elephant with local and international markets.

The sanctuary was inspired and is supported by Lek Chailert, world renowned elephant conservationist, founder of Save Elephant Foundation and the world famous Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. Lek is at the forefront of ethical elephant tourism in Thailand and throughout Asia, which is seeing a growing demand for elephant camps to transition from elephant riding to a sanctuary model, as promoted by Save Elephant Foundation and Asian Elephant Project’s ‘Saddle Off’ programs.

The plight of the Asian elephant has received significant media attention in recent times and the question of what qualifies as ‘ethical elephant tourism’ is coming under scrutiny and is a controversial topic within the industry.

Supporters say that elephant riding can lead to serious injuries and doesn’t allow elephants adequate time to eat and drink.

“This activity also leads to high levels of stress and has been known to cause miscarriages in pregnant elephants ridden to the point of exhaustion.”

However, many visitors to Thailand are unaware of the possible suffering caused to elephants by being ridden and performing in shows. A recent report revealed that 40% of tourists from the top 10 countries visiting Thailand were planning to do an elephant ride, which translates to a demand for around 12.8 million elephant rides in the country.

Other performances includes dancing, painting, playing football, balancing acts – all of them unnatural and demeaning behaviour, according to elephant welfare supporters.

Visitors to Samui Elephant Sanctuary have the unique experience of observing elephants in an environment where they are respected, allowed to form herds, and interact naturally without fear of punishment.

“The well-being of the elephants is paramount, and the income provided by visitors supports the ongoing mission to improve the lives of elephants throughout Asia through the Save Elephant Foundation.”

The ‘Responsible Thailand’ Awards are run by Wanderlust Travel Media on behalf of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and are intended to bring attention to and encourage Thailand’s dedication to the conservation of its natural and cultural resources, as well as support sustainable tourism development with consideration to the impact on our planet.

NOTE: The wild elephant population in Thailand has dwindled rapidly and is estimated today to be between 1500-3000, with some estimates as low as 1000. At the beginning of the 20th century, over 100,000 elephants are estimated to have roamed free in Thailand. The alarming demise is due to loss of habitat and poaching.

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Central Thailand

4 metre python caught after eating school’s pets

Caitlin Ashworth

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4 metre python caught after eating school’s pets | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siamrath

Cats and chickens have been going missing at a central Thailand school for the past month or so. Turns out they ended up in the stomach of a 4 metre, 70 kilogram python. The Pranchanukul Rescue Team in Ratchaburi eventually caught the python yesterday and released into the wild, away from villages. Ratchaburi is on the Burmese border, west of Bangkok.

The janitor at the Wat Aranyikawat Temple School was trying to figure where the animals were going and kept an eye out for a potential predator. Yesterday, he saw the large reptile slither into a pond. After he reported the sighting he tried to track down the snake and found a large cat being eaten by the giant snake. It was the school’s last cat. The janitor tried to intervene, but the snake tried to attack him.

He called the experts in instead.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Environment

Chemical ban now in effect, farmers say they have few alternatives

Caitlin Ashworth

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Chemical ban now in effect, farmers say they have few alternatives | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Thailand’s ban on 2 toxic chemicals in herbicides and pesticides, is now in effect. While the move focuses on a sustainable, eco-friendly future, farmers say they are at a loss with no alternatives to keep bugs and weeds from killing their crops.

The 2 chemicals, paraquat and chlorpyrifos, have been shown to be toxic to humans in some studies, in sufficient quantities. Paraquat is used to kill weeds on palm, rubber, sugarcane, corn and cassava plantations while chlorpyrifos is used to kill worms on fruit. The two chemicals were added to the Type 4 list on Thailand’s Hazardous Substance Act last month and the ban started on June 1. A group of Thai farmers again tried to appeal the ban last week.

“Without paraquat, Thai farmers will face losses in key crops because there are no alternatives.”

Secretary-general of the Federation of Safe Agriculture Sukan Sungwanna says that around 10 million farming households in Thailand use the chemicals.

Thailand’s deputy chief for the Department of Agriculture says they’ve prepared 16 alternatives for substitutes for the chemicals, but declined to discuss the details.

Farmers are given 90 days to return unused chemicals back to sellers. Farmers caught storing or using the chemicals after June 1 face charges of malfeasance. Those who sell, produce, import or export the chemicals can also face up to 10 years in jail and an up to 1 million baht fine.

SOURCES: Reuters | Bangkok Post

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Environment

Black water pours into the Gulf of Thailand right next to Pattaya’s Walking Street – VIDEO

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Black water pours into the Gulf of Thailand right next to Pattaya’s Walking Street – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: We Love Pattaya

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water… some disgusting black water gushing back onto the Pattaya foreshore. It’s meant to be the Gulf of Thailand, not the Black Sea. The video on the ‘We Love Pattaya’ Facebook page (below) showed the black water pouring into the sea from a pumping station near the entrance to Pattaya’s Walking Street.

By the time reporters got there to collect more pictorial evidence, the damage done was evident although the flow of dirty water had stopped. Heavy rains from late last week had mixed with heaven-knows-what and ended up being deposited on Pattaya’s foreshore, basically pristine up to this event after a ‘rest’ from tourists for nearly 3 months.

The local media called on Pattaya authorities to “act on the reports” but nothing is expected to happen. At this stage, seeing this video, social distancing may be more than just staying away from other people.

It seems the new Pattaya Beach Road drains are WORKING 🇹🇭🙏🇹🇭Big rain no beach road floods ❤️🤍💙

Posted by We Love Pattaya on Thursday, 28 May 2020

SOURCE: Thai Visa | We Love Pattaya

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