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Why won’t our government save Lasah?

October 14, 2016

Lasah has been working for 20 years and is now kept in captivity in isolation and chained instead of spending his life at the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary

FMT LETTERS

Friends of the Orangutans (Malaysia)From: Upreshpal of Friends of the Orangutans (Malaysia) via e-mail

Three months after his plight was first revealed, Lasah the 36-year-old male elephant remains on Langkawi Island. This despite a huge public outcry and requests by NGOs at home and abroad made to the Natural Resources & Environment Ministry (NRE) to retire Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary in Lanchang, Pahang.

In July photos of Lasah chained on all four legs at the Langkawi Elephant Adventure (LEA) surfaced online, leading to worldwide public outrage over his treatment especially after his previous and current life history were exposed to the world.

Since then close to 400,000 irate animal lovers worldwide have signed petitions for Lasah while more than 500 people have written to the NRE Minister, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar to ask for Lasah to be transferred to Kuala Gandah. Various elephant experts with years of excellent work with captive elephants worldwide have also spoken up. Not to mention international NGOs who have themselves written to the Minister.

Lasah has been on Langkawi Island since 2006. Today he is used for elephant rides at the LEA. According to the LEA website, Lasah has also featured in commercials and the former still offers Lasah for promotional activities.

Suffice to say poor Lasah has been used and exploited for many years and the government still refuses to end the suffering of this elephant. To this day Lasah still languishes at Langkawi. Moreover, elephants are social animals and need to be with their kind. Without the company of other elephants they suffer. Lasah is kept alone at LEA.

This unfortunate elephant has spent over 20 years in several zoos including the Singapore Zoo. He has been forced to work in a logging camp, perform in shows including in a popular Malaysian entertainment outlet and used in the 1999 film Anna and the King before ending up in Langkawi.

Compare the treatment of this majestic Malaysian animal with Chinese pandas in the capital. Millions of ringgit have been spent on pandas from China yet Malaysian animals like Lasah are forgotten in our own backyard.

Our government needs to intervene and transfer Lasah to Kuala Gandah immediately. The world is watching and waiting for Lasah to start a new life at Kuala Gandah. Not doing so will send the wrong message to animal lovers and conservationists everywhere about the priorities of welfare and conservation efforts in Malaysia.

We’re afraid the outrage Malaysians and supporters around the world are displaying on a daily basis will not blow over until the elephant is sent to Kuala Gandah. Nobody, including Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia will give up on Lasah until he is saved. How could we?

Please sign and share the petition for Lasah and be a part of the movement. Lasah’s future is in our hands.

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