New govt urged to take care of elephants

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BANGKOK, 6 July 2011  – The Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation has encouraged the new government to take action in preventing elephants from being exported as the Thai elephant population is on a decline.

Founder of the group Soraida Salwala demanded that incoming Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the new natural resources and environment minister give importance to problems associated with elephants, especially the forced roaming of elephants around the country and elephant exports.

Ms Soraida elaborated that there used to be 40,000 wild and domesticated elephants in Thailand 50 years ago but the numbers fall to only 3,000 domesticated and 2,000 wild elephants at present.

The activist explained that a number of wild elephants have been domesticated and registered while some are exported. She said some elephants are roaming in cities and being tortured while others in the tourism industry are maltreated.

Ms Soraida admitted that most governments had never paid attention to elephants although they are the symbolic animal of Thailand. She disclosed via her twitter that she has been intimidated after she has been urging authorities to take action against elephant exporters and traffickers.