Friday, April 13, 2012

Speak-out for Elephants

In 2010, I volunteered at a wildlife Sanctuary Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand  (WFFT) and worked as an elephant keeper helping to take care of 7 rescued elephants.  While there, I learned a lot about the plight of the elephants in Thailand who in the past have been working elephant but are now displaced by modern equipment and technology.   Today, elephants are mainly used in the tourist industry.  While previously an elephant was owned for life by his keeper who traditionally took good care of the animal, now they are trained and sold over and over again.  The are kept by people who do not necessarily understand how to keep these magnificent animals and as a result the elephant's life is often full of pain and mishandling.  Sadly, tourist dollars effectively support this kind of industry.

WFFT founder and director Edwin Wiek is speaking out against wild animal trade in Thailand and the poaching of elephants from the few wildlife areas left for elephants to roam freely, and as a result the Thai government has raided WFFT and taken away rescued animals only to be taken into government facilities that often offer the minimal of care for these animals.

While in Thailand at WFFT, I saw for myself the state of a "new" elephant that was just brought to WFFT:  an elderly 75-year old female who emaciated and had open wounds deep in her skin that would never heal but with the caring daily treatments at least stopped festering and hopefully hurting.  After settling in and being fed properly, she enjoyed fruit treats and would come up to me checking out my pockets for acacia seed pods, a favorite snack.

So if you are touched by this, please continue reading the below, and please speak out for the elephants and for all other wildlife in Thailand :

News from In Defense of Animals:

Speak Up For Elephants And Other Wildlife In Thailand
Please use the form at the bottom of this page to send your comments to 
Thailand's Ambassador to the U.S.
The world-renowned Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, which rescues old, sick and disabled elephants from the trekking and logging industries, is under fire from government authorities who are threatening to confiscate elephants. Why? Because the group spoke out against the illegal poaching of elephants in Thai national parks. In January, six elephants were killed in two parks, drawing attention to the trade in baby elephants that has been carried out with the alleged complicity of government officials.

Authorities are acting under the pretense that the Elephant Nature Park may illegally be in possession of wild elephants. Elephant Nature Park founder Lek Chailert states that the elephants are microchipped and that she has the paperwork to show legal "ownership" for all of them.

The Elephant Nature Park is not the only legitimate rescue organization to be affected. The government confiscated 103 animals, including endangered species, from Wildlife Friends of Thailand (WFFT), during a four-day raid in which many animals were injured and traumatized. An Australian newspaperreported that Thailand’s National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation department demanded documentation of legal ownership but did not give the foundation the opportunity to produce the paperwork.

The raid followed claims made by WFFT founder and director Edwin Wiek that more than half the elephants in tourist camps in Thailand were illegally smuggled from the wild and sold to middlemen who torture and train them, and then sell them to tourism operators. The Thai tourism industry relies heavily on elephant trekking and entertainment. Wiek stated that tourists who visit such places “are effectively supporting the killing and torture of wild-born elephants.”

Tell the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, DC to stop the raids on legitimate rescue organizations, and to direct government resources to better protecting elephants and ending the smuggling of calves for the tourist trade.
Personalize and submit the form below to send your message to:

Note: the term "Decision Maker" in the salutation of the letter below will automatically be replaced with the Ambassador's title and name.

If the link doesn't work properly, please go to IDA's Home  and click through from there.

Thank you for your kindness.

Til next time,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Equinet Award

The Equine Photographers Network Announces 
Results for Equine Ideal: 2012 Online Photo Contest  

My image:  "Friends" was awarded Third Place in the Amateur 'Wild Horse' Category.

This was a juried competition and here is what the Judge, Toni Stromberg, said about the image:

"I love the affection you captured in this shot.  Really nicely  composed, 
good exposure, and I like that the background is soft...  
really brings the focus to the horses.  Nice!"

I also want to thank all of you who voted for my image in the People's Choice Award open voting.  Thank you!


Another of my images "Dawn of a New Day" received the People's Choice Award at the PhotoCentral, Hayward, Springshow 2012 and is currently exhibited there until May 17, 2012.

This pano printed on metal is has a wonderful glow reflecting the dawn light over the Bay during a January early winter morning.  The Bay Bridge is a much photographed subject, and I was very happy to see that the image offered something special for the viewer.

The images of the Springshow can also be viewed here.


Til next time,