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Elephant rampage: Tragedy strikes Phuket honeymooners

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Elephant rampage: Tragedy strikes Phuket honeymooners | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A Ukrainian couple’s honeymoon turned to tragedy when a bull elephant went berserk on a Phuket trekking tour, attacking the female elephant she and her husband were riding.

Tetiana Meia, 26, suffered clean breaks to her left femur, right tibia (shin bone) and right fibula, along with scrapes and bruises all over her body when “Captain”, a bull elephant at Camp Chang in Kalim, attacked the elephant she was riding with her husband, Artem Perepelitsyn, 24.

Mr Perepelitsyn suffered a puncture wound and deep cuts to his left ankle and foot.

Although the incident occurred on September 12, the newlyweds came forward this afternoon after reading on the Phuket Gazette website that, contrary to what the owner of Camp Chang told them, Captain had been involved in a rampage in January 2010 which sent tourists running for their lives and a Swedish man to hospital with a broken leg.

“We were riding on the elephant side by side, with my wife to the left of me, for about five minutes when it happened,” Mr Artem said.

“I turned to look behind me and I could see Captain running uphill toward us,” Mrs Meia said.

Captain was carrying two American tourists and a mahout at the time, she said.

“Captain charged with his tusks into the right side of our elephant, and then again, and again,” Mr Perepelitsyn said.

On the third blow, the couple’s elephant fell onto its left side, pinning Mrs Meia to the ground. The mahout was able to jump off the beast, but the Ukrainians were trapped in the seat fastened to the elephant’s back.

“The guy from the camp had tied a strap across our laps and when we fell, it came up and tightened, so we couldn’t get off the elephant. I somehow managed to pull myself out, but my wife was stuck,” Mr Perepelitsyn said.

“After we went down, Captain continued attacking, pushing our elephant and my wife along the ground,” he said.

“We were screaming and I thought I was going to die because I couldn’t feel anything and [the elephant] and I were sliding and sliding,” a tearful Mrs Meia said.

“I said to Artem, ‘Goodbye, I love you,’,” she said.

Finally, one of the staff cut the strap with a knife and a frantic Mr Perepelitsyn was able to pull his wife free.

Mrs Meia was transported to Phuket International Hospital where she has since had titanium plates attached to bones in both of her legs to keep them stable. She remains bedridden but hopes to be able to bend her knees and fly home to Odessa, where she works as a travel agent, sometime next week, she said.

Mr Perepelitsyn, an IT business owner, is able to get around on crutches as his left ankle and foot heal.

Camp Chang owner Trin Khanwilaikul has declined to comment to the Gazette about this latest incident, but in the 2010 incident she blamed Captain’s behavior on a mahout.

The newlywed Ukranians were satisfied with Ms Trin’s handling of the matter until she went silent after the pair asked for monetary compensation.

“[Ms Trin] came to visit us every day, but lately she’s told us she’s too busy to come. Because we talked about money and I showed her [the Gazette article about the previous attack] and maybe she’s scared,” Mr Perepelitsyn said.

“We still don’t know who is going to pay for this. We only want a minimal amount to cover medical costs. We need money for future treatment,” he added.

“Ms Trin had told us that nothing like this had ever happened, that this was the first time,” Mrs Meia said.

“I want the company to stop using this elephant,” she added.

“I would like these camps to use only female elephants and to make sure they are not too close together on the trails. And, if you’re going to do one of these treks, I want you to think about your family and friends. Think a thousand times before you go on an elephant,” Mr Perepelitsyn said.

Asked if she would consider getting back on an elephant, Mrs Meia smiled and said, “Never”.

— Nicholas Altstadt

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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