From: Jennifer Yeap, Malaysian Friends of the Animals, via email
More than two weeks after the treatment of Lasah the elephant in Langkawi was exposed, nothing has changed and there are no signs the elephant will be transferred to the government-owned Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary in Lanchang, Pahang.
However, we cannot imagine local activists will give up on poor Lasah. Learning the life history of Lasah would break any caring person’s heart. Once born wild and free, Lasah has been in zoos, a logging camp, used in entertainment and now made to offer rides to clueless tourists.
After Lasah’s plight was exposed at Free Malaysia Today, Perhilitan claimed that the elephant is healthy and that Langkawi Elephant Adventures abides by zoo regulations. Nothing was said about how this elephant has suffered over the years and there is no word about the conditions in which Lasah is kept at night when LEA is closed.
LEA also responded saying Lasah is used for rides for only three hours a day. According to their website LEA is open eight hours a day. What happens when no one is looking, especially when Perhilitan appears to be on LEA’s side?
We are also disappointed that the Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria has not publicly backed for Lasah to be sent to Kuala Gandah. Isn’t it in the interest of MAZPA to safeguard the welfare of captive wildlife?
The company claims Lasah has medical issues. Wouldn’t Lasah be better off at Kuala Gandah in the hands of the best and most dedicated elephant keepers in the country? There he will be treated with love and care. To deprive him of his kind is cruel and abusive. After years of hard work isn’t it time to retire him and allow him to spend the rest of his years with other elephants? All elephant experts agree elephants are social animals and the company of other elephants is important to this species’ well being.
Lasah’s treatment brings a lot of shame to the Malaysian tourism industry. Malaysian Friends of the Animals call on all Malaysians to boycott LEA until Lasah is sent to Kuala Gandah.
Jennifer Yeap is an FMT reader