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THERE ARE MANY WAYS YOU CAN HELP END THE THREATS TO ASIAN ELEPHANTS:

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VISIT GENUINE SANCTUARIES ONLY

Shri G. Kishan Reddy is India’s Minister of Tourism. Ask his country to do more to protect its elephants, both wild and captive; and ask him to stop the horrific practice of Pajan. 

Email: kishanreddy.g@sansad.nic.in
Post: Room No. 301 Transport Bhawan, Parliament Street, New Delhi – 110001 INDIA

SUBJECT: Save the Asian Elephants

EXAMPLE EMAIL:

Dear Minister,

I am deeply concerned about the plight of the Asian elephant in India, both in the wild and in captivity. I am writing to ask the Indian government to do more to protect the species in the wild, to ensure India’s laws are properly enforced to end the use of brutal methods such as pajan on captive elephants in tourism and to encourage ethical sanctuaries where elephants are observed from a safe and respectful distance.

Asian elephants have been revered in Indian culture for centuries. But their numbers have collapsed and they are now designated by IUCN as highly endangered. Tourists across the world are becoming increasingly aware that to “train” elephants for tourism and other commercial exploitation, the vast majority are subjected to extreme horrific violence. Baby elephants are illegally snatched from the wild, isolated, immobilized, starved and subjected to intense beatings and stabbings to “break the spirits’ to terrify them into submission, the torture continuing routinely thereafter. See examples at www.stae.org/horrors.

Abused captive elephants also attack and kill tourists and are highly effective transmitters of deadly airborne viruses such as TB, SARS and, science now indicates, Covid 19.

There is also now extensive evidence of human trafficking involved in unethical elephant tourism.

We now know far more about the extraordinary intelligence, emotional sensitivity and rich social lives of the world’s largest land mammal. To brutalise and keep them hobbled and chained for long periods in cruel isolation, suffering foot diseases, and intense physical and psychological distress cannot be justified in the eyes of the world and is damaging to India’s international standing. The British Government’s Manifesto pledges to “support the Indian Government in its efforts to protect the Asian elephants”.

We urge the Indian Government to work closely with the British Government and Save The Asian Elephants to protect this ancient and now highly endangered species.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully

[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]

As High Commissioner for India, it is Gaitri Issar Kumar’s role to pass the concerns of the UK public back to the Indian government. Ask his country to do more to protect its elephants, both wild and captive; and to stop the horrific practice of pajan.

Email to: info.london@hcilondon.in and info.london@mea.gov.in
Post to: High Commissioner for India, India House, Aldwych, London WC2B 4NA.

SUBJECT: Save the Asian Elephants

EXAMPLE EMAIL:

Your Excellency,

I am deeply concerned about the plight of the Asian elephant in India, both in the wild and in captivity. I am writing to ask the Indian government to do more to protect the species in the wild, to ensure India’s laws are properly enforced to end the use of brutal methods such as pajan on captive elephants in tourism and to encourage ethical sanctuaries where elephants are observed from a safe and respectful distance.

Asian elephants have been revered in Indian culture for centuries. But their numbers have collapsed and they are now designated by IUCN as highly endangered. Tourists across the world are becoming increasingly aware that to “train” elephants for tourism and other commercial exploitation, the vast majority are subjected to extreme horrific violence. Baby elephants are illegally snatched from the wild, isolated, immobilized, starved and subjected to intense beatings and stabbings to “break the spirits’ to terrify them into submission, the torture continuing routinely thereafter. See examples at www.stae.org/horrors.

Abused captive elephants also attack and kill tourists and are highly effective transmitters of deadly airborne viruses such as TB, SARS and, science now indicates, Covid 19.

There is also now extensive evidence of human trafficking involved in unethical elephant tourism.

We now know far more about the extraordinary intelligence, emotional sensitivity and rich social lives of the world’s largest land mammal. To brutalise and keep them hobbled and chained for long periods in cruel isolation, suffering foot diseases, and intense physical and psychological distress cannot be justified in the eyes of the world and is damaging to India’s international standing. The British Government’s Manifesto pledges to “support the Indian Government in its efforts to protect the Asian elephants”.

We urge the Indian Government to work closely with the British Government and Save The Asian Elephants to protect this ancient and now highly endangered species.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully

[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]

VISIT GENUINE SANCTUARIES ONLY

Genuine sanctuaries are those where elephants:

  • Are rescued from existing service; not bred for tourism or captured from the wild
  • Are free to roam and interact socially and are not chained or abused
  • Do not have to give rides or perform tricks
  • Are not subjected to the bullhook (or ankus), a wooden shaft with fierce iron hooks and spikes used to stab and rip baby and adult elephants in all their tenderest parts to terrify and subdue them to perform unnatural actions like rides, tricks and football
  • Enjoy respectful and caring relationships with their mahouts, who are in turn adequately paid and supported
  • Have access to professional veterinary care
  • Are allowed to be elephants.

If a sanctuary permits visitors to feed or bathe elephants, suitable foodstuffs and clean appropriate waters must be provided; the animals must not be bathed for excessive periods merely to satisfy tourists.

We hope over time to build and publicise a list of good and respectable sanctuaries to assist you in choosing your holiday destination. Meanwhile do provide us with your feedback on any such places you visit.

TOURIST DESTINATIONS

Tour companies listen to their customers and by letting them know you want to see elephants only as nature intended you send a powerful message.

If you’re visiting India, Thailand or other Asian countries, don’t attend attractions that offer elephant rides or that force these magnificent animals to perform tricks – and tell your tour operator why.

Many of these places call themselves “sanctuaries”, “orphanages” or “eco-tourist camps” but there are no laws governing the use of these descriptions and few have genuinely rescued elephants or provide conditions that can be described as respite. Only go to genuine sanctuaries [see note below] or to places where you can watch elephants in the wild.

TOUR OPERATORS

Many tour operators offer elephant attractions. With your help, we’ll urge tour operators who include such visits in their itinerary to drop elephant attractions from their programmes. Thanks to public pressure some have already done so.

We ask you to email tour operators who still include these attractions in their holiday offerings.

MPs

Through their diplomatic contacts with India and South East Asian countries, the UK government can influence change.

110 UK MPs signed a House of Commons motion (Early Day Motion 436 of 2014) on Asian elephants in the Parliamentary session that finished in March 2015. This link lists all the MPs who have signed the motion.

A later EDM (45 of 2015) sponsored by STAE garnered a similarly high number of MP supporters.

INDIAN PRIME MINISTER AND INDIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER IN LONDON

Please write to these key figures. In your letter you could make any of the following points:

  • The survival and welfare of elephants in India is under serious threat
  • Urge India to intensify its efforts to end the capture of elephants from the wild. Explain that you know this is illegal under Indian law but despite this it continues on a significant scale.
  • Please urgently end Pajan – the brutal process of ‘taming’ wild elephants designed to break their spirit. Point out that this is damaging India’s good name
  • Welfare standards for captive elephants used in tourist attractions, temples, processions and festivals are generally poor – most elephants are kept in isolation with inadequate food, water and shelter. Explain that you know that guidelines for the management of elephants have been in place since 2008 but stress that these are rarely observed in practice and also need to be strengthened
  • Urge India to redouble its efforts to address the problems of human – elephant conflict.
  • Say you support Save the Asian Elephants and ask them to collaborate with STAE

TOURIST DESTINATIONS

Tour companies listen to their customers and by letting them know you want to see elephants only as nature intended you send a powerful message.

If you’re visiting India, Thailand or other Asian countries, don’t attend attractions that offer elephant rides or that force these magnificent animals to perform tricks – and tell your tour operator why.

Many of these places call themselves “sanctuaries”, “orphanages” or “eco-tourist camps” but there are no laws governing the use of these descriptions and few have genuinely rescued elephants or provide conditions that can be described as respite. Only go to genuine sanctuaries [see note below] or to places where you can watch elephants in the wild.

TOUR OPERATORS

Many tour operators offer elephant attractions. With your help, we’ll urge tour operators who include such visits in their itinerary to drop elephant attractions from their programmes. Thanks to public pressure some have already done so.

We ask you to email tour operators who still include these attractions in their holiday offerings.

The address for the Indian Prime Minister is:

Mr Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
South Block
Raisina Hill
New Delhi – 110011
India

(Other contact methods are on pmindia.gov.in)

The address for the Indian High Commissioner is:

His Excellency Mr Gaitri Issar Kumar
High Commissioner of India
High Commission of India
India House
Aldwych
London, WC2B 4NA

info.london@hcilondon.in

Representative offices in London of other South East Asian governments with surviving wild Asian elephants to whom we also ask you to write are:

Royal Thai Embassy
29-30 Queen’s Gate
London, SW7 5JB
Tel: 0207 589 2944
csinfo@thaiembassyuk.org.uk

High Commission of Sri Lanka
13 Hyde Park Gardens
London W2 2LU
Tel: 020 7262 1841
mail@slhc-london.co.uk

Embassy of Nepal
12A Kensington Palace Gardens
London W8 4QU
info@nepembassy.org.uk
eon@nepembassy.org.uk

Embassy of Vietnam
12-14 Victoria Road
London W8 5RD
Tel: 020 7937 1912
consular@vietnamembassy.org.uk

Embassy of Myanmar
19a Charles street
London
WIJ 1DX
0207 148 0740
ambassadoroffice@myanmarembassylondon.com

High Commission of Malaysia
45-46 Belgrave Square
London SW1X 8QT
mwlondon@kln.gov.my

Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
38 Grosvenor Square
London,W1K 2HW
kbri@btconnect.com

High Commission for Bangladesh
28 Queens Gate
London SW7 5JA
hc@bhclondon.org.uk

Embassy of Bhutan
2,Windacres, Warren Road
Guildford GU1 3HG
United Kingdom
mrutland@aol.com

Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Asia House
63 New Cavendish Street
London W1G 7LP
enquiries@asiahouse.co.uk

Royal Embassy of Cambodia
64 Brondesbury Park
Willesden Green
London NW6 7AT
cambodianembassy@btconnect.com

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
51 Portland Place
London W1B 1JL
political@chinese-embassy.org.uk

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