The Alliance of Elephant-Lovers in Sweden has requested
that the Thai government take action over alleged intimidation of
members of the Friends of Elephants Foundation by the Forestry Industry
The alliance informed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont
and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Kasem Sanidwong na
Ayudhaya of the alleged threats saying that the northern chapter
of the FIO had deliberately set fire to a Lampang forest. The fire
got out of control and spread to the foundation's nearby elephant
sanctuary, panicking the elephants. The organisation refuses to
take responsibility, insisting that it was a controlled fire.
"We have learnt the Prime Minister's Office
is investigating," foundation secretary-general Sorada Chavala
said. "However, since the incident no executives or staff of
the FIO have come to discuss [the matter]."
In correspondence with the government the Swedish
group is calling for justice.
related development, the foundation is also pressing the Forestry
Department to investigate an elephant-watching tour at Khao Chon
Kai's Pa Salak animal reserve. It is worried the company is smuggling
the foundation had obtained a tourist's video that showed 30 adult
and young elephants at a river. The foundation questions why a commercial
venture is operating on reserve land.Tourists pay Bt7,000 a week
for the tour as well as accommodation and transport. The tour is
promoted on the Internet. Foundation veterinarian Preecha Puangkham
is not against such tours but worries about the exploitation of
young elephants. Preecha said elephant-smugglers would shoot a mother
elephant before taking its young; tese young are then sold abroad
for between Bt500,000 and Bt600,00, he added.