British expat presents petition to help jobless starving elephants

Published:  25 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, Thailand, Money
One concerned British expat living in Thailand has petitioned the government over the plight of jobless elephants.

It’s not just human workers in the Thai tourism sector who’re suffering from the lack of visitors due to the pandemic, it’s also the thousands of elephants from the now closed attractions so popular with visitors. From the northeastern provinces’ elephant camps through Chiang Mai’s many elephant-based shows, no tourists means no money and no food for the elephants and their handlers.

Those concerned about the plight of Thailand’s most iconic symbols fear handlers may be forced to beg with their elephants on the city streets, risking damage to the precious animals from starvation, traffic accidents and the hard surface of city roads. Some, along with their mahouts, have taken the long road to their original homes, but their arrivals are creating even more problems, with one village previously home to 10 elephants now hosting 90 pachyderms living alongside the villagers.

Aware that elephants eat around 300 kilogrammes of plant materials every day, one expat who was devastated by the plight of these gentle giants and decided to do her best to help. British expat Susan Field from Koh Samui got together a petition of around 65,000 signatures and presented it to the Thai government last week. The petition requests the government’s help in providing regular financial aid to the mahouts struggling to find enough food for their animals by foraging, thus enabling them to purchase the supplies instead.

The petition also requests the issuance of a new law protecting the elephants and assuring their safety as befits the country’s national symbol, rather than leaving them suffering and starving. To date, Thai media hasn’t yet published any government response to the petition, leaving the elephants and their mahouts trapped in a worsening situation.
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