Details of previous activity appear on the page Our Work

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    • April 26, 2021
      Ending Elephant Tourism Cruelty in Our Lifetime – Is it Possible?
      Millions around the world are questioning the idea behind elephant tourism and touristy activities involving captive elephants. And it is not an exaggeration. Some 32 million people around the world support a campaign driven by Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) to stop elephant tourism cruelty. But why is this the case? Isn’t it fascinating watching them perform, bathing with an elephant or even riding one?
    • In December 2017 STAE received global media coverage after releasing exclusive video footage from India of an Asian elephant being beaten mercilessly to ‘tame’ it for commercial use during the festival season, injuring it severely and breaking its leg. Apart from the worldwide coverage, in the UK STAE’s work for the elephants was widely quoted in:

The Daily Mail

The Mirror

The Independent

The International Business Times

    • In November 2017 STAE published detailed proposals to ensure any exemptions to the proposed UK ivory ban would be very limited in order for the ban to deliver the utmost benefit for elephant conservation. STAE’s Ian Redmond spoke to these before a Parliamentary Committee.

    • In October 2017 STAE had a leading role in the national protest against the UK ivory trade in Parliament Square organised by Action for Elephants. STAE CEO Duncan McNair gave a moving speech and was amongst a small group invited on behalf of 220 charities and MPs to present a letter demanding a ban to Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street. A proposed ban was immediately announced by the British Government.

    • STAE’s CEO Duncan McNair wrote an exclusive guest blog in advance of World Elephant Day in August 2017 for online newspaper”Huffington Post UK ” about the mistreatment of Asian elephants for the Western tourism industry and how we can save the endangered Asian elephant species. The blog also featured in”Tourism Concern“, a leading ethical tourism research organisation.


  • On World Elephant Day August 2017 STAE launched its Stand With STAE social media campaign, with support from many high profile public figures and animal welfare activists such as” Chris Packham “, Ian Redmond, George Monbiot, Stephen Sackur, Peter Egan, Pete Wedderburn, Anneka Svenska and Bollywood star Sunny Leone.



  • STAE collaborated with popular travel blog, “ Family Bites Travel” in July 2017 on blogger Alana Tagliabue’s eyewitness account of elephants chained and tortured outside temples and in street parades at leading tourist hotspots in Sri Lanka.
  •  BBC Business Online” interviewed Duncan McNair in April 2017 on how he is leveraging his legal expertise for the benefit of Asian elephants.
  • In April 2017 STAE gained an exclusive double-page feature in“The Sun newspaper” on a captive and neglected elephant Gajraj who lived chained in tortuous solitude and the horrors and abuse endured by many elephants for the Western tourist trade to India and SE Asia.


  • STAE continue to fight to bring elephant horrors to the widest audience – we recently received coverage in both The Sunday People and the Northern Echo.

    The Northerrn Enco 21 March 2016 Article View-page-001 The Sunday People 5 June 2016 Article View-page-001 The Sunday People 5 June 2016 Article View-page-002

Big Issue North front cover

  • In May 2016 STAE was the cover story for the Big Issue North. The magazine has a circulation of 17,027 and we were given a prominent two-page, full colour spread. The article successfully highlighted the plight of the Asian elephant, and outlined how the use of elephants in travel and tourism is barbaric, unethical and outdated. The article discusses the dangers of holding elephants in captivity, and the horrors that they must endure in the process of training, or ‘pajan’.

    We are delighted that our work is being covered so prominently in such a well-known, national magazine.

    View the full Big Issue Article here.


  • In January 2016 STAE was invited to present to MEPs at the European Parliament Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.

    Duncan explained the brutal “breaking” process of pajan that is used on young elephants to subjugate them for training for use in tourism and temples. He informed the MEPs about what happens behind the scenes at facilities that offer elephant treks and shows to tourists, and about the painful reality of life as a temple elephant. Asian elephants are endangered and subject to serious threats in the wild, including destruction of habitat and migratory corridors, and capture for use in tourism and temples.

    STAE has developed policies with expert input both domestically, in Europe and across the range states of the Asian elephants. These are attracting considerable favourable attention and support. Duncan requested that MEPs exert pressure within the EU, domestically and internationally to put an end to pajan and poaching. The meeting generated a great deal of interest among MEPs. STAE thanks the Intergroup and its Members for their support and looks forward to working further with the Intergroup.

    Here you can see the slides from Duncan’s presentation and his briefing note and you can take a look at the Intergroup’s activities on their website

    Note: the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals, known as the ‘Animal Welfare Intergroup’, is the focal point for animal welfare in the European Parliament. This cross-party group of MEPs from across the EU is one of the longest running and largest Intergroups within the European Parliament and has become not only a forum for debate but also a catalyst for action on animal welfare issues.

  • In December 2015 STAE was invited to present to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Endangered Species. STAE CEO Duncan McNair informed Members about the threats to wild Asian elephants, in particular illegal capture for the tourist and temple trades, and the horrors faced by captive elephants.

    Duncan brought to Members’ attention the overwhelming public opinion for action (poll results) and that the UK and Indian Prime Ministers recently resolved to work together to protect Asian elephants (Joint Statement).


APPG Chair Ranil Jayawardena MP, Duncan McNair, David Hanson MP

  • We are confident that the APPG’s involvement will further help to bring political attention to this issue and pressure for the government to take action on its election promise. We look forward to working further with the APPG.

    Note: The APPG is a cross-party group of Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords that takes a particular lead in political matters involving endangered species.

  • Following the visit to the UK of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2015, the UK and Indian Prime Ministers released a Joint Statement setting out the opportunities and challenges for the two countries to work together. STAE is pleased to share with you the news that, following lobbying and discussions by STAE with politicians and others of influence, the Joint Statement includes a resolution by the Prime Ministers to work together to improve protection for both captive and wild Asian elephants. You can read the Statement here
  • In November 2015 STAE’s CEO Duncan McNair was honoured to be invited as a VIP guest to the Summit meeting of the World Forum of Business Ethics in the European Parliament buildings in Brussels. Duncan held discussions on STAE’s work and proposals with His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, with Mr Lojze Peterle, former Prime Minister of Slovenia, and with Mr Jigme Yoser Thinley, former Prime Minister of Bhutan.
  • In November 2015 in anticipation of the visit to the UK of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, STAE issued a Press Release (view here) and released the results of a national poll by leading agency Populus (view here) expressing the overwhelming horror of all UK communities at the abuse of Asian elephants and demanding politicians here and in India, and tour companies, act now to change the situation.


Some of our recent press coverage:

STAE’s CEO speaks up for brutalised elephants during Royals’ visit and urges STAEs policies.
Mirror Online
April 2016

Click image to read article

More evidence of abuse of Thai elephant – STAE CEO comments
Mail Online
February 2016

STAE CEO condemns continuing abuse of ‘killer’ elephant
Sunday Mail
February 2016

Duncan’s campaign for elephants
Ealing Gazette
December 2015

Mr Modi and the Elephants
Asian Voice
November 2015

Poll shows public’s overwhelming outrage and demand for action to stop abuse
Weekly Tribune
November 2015

Interview with STAE CEO
Weekly Tribune
November 2015

Readers’ biggest response ever to a Mail article
Mail on Sunday
August 2015

Expose of elephant ‘training camps’
Mail on Sunday
August 2015

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