Lasah update – Malaysian government responds

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Dear supporter,

As we have previously informed, we had a meeting with the environment minister of Malaysia. During the meeting, which was also attended by the West Malaysia wildlife department, we informed the minister why Lasah needs to be transferred to the elephant sanctuary, the fact that Lasah has been a working elephant for over 25 years.

Soon after our meeting, the minister visited Lasah on 14th March. The ministry then announced that Lasah is in “good shape and healthy” [which we are skeptical about]. However, our concerns regarding Lasah’s condition & treatment since the start of the campaign were not addressed in the announcement.

That said, the ministry did announce on the same date that they would “hold discussions” regarding transferring Lasah to the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary. No further news have been forthcoming since then and we are keeping the pressure up as usual, with your support.

Supporters Christina Ku and Ariane Gogny organised a demonstration for Lasah in Santa Monica, California. While Hannah Morris Photography organised one outside the Malaysian embassy in London, U.K. Thank you! Some photos from both at link below:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7pgjjso48m5rgre/AACrU2LSW77S4u14919d0vHJa?dl=0

The good news is that the Malaysian government have responded to this campaign, thanks to you, the supporters. Public show of support is extremely vital to this campaign and we urgently need more supporters to organise similar demonstrations. Please get in touch with us at info@fotomalaysia.org if needed.

If you have comments, you may post them at this link.

Thank you, friends of Lasah.

 

Sukau bridge project scrapped

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Photo: Proboscis monkeys near Sukau, Kinabatangan. @fotomalaysia

The good news wildlife enthusiasts have been waiting and hoping for. The Sabah state government announced on April 20th 2017 that the much much maligned Sukau bridge project, in the wildlife rich Kinabatangan region of East Malaysia, has been canceled. This comes after much pressure from conservationists, including Sir David Attenborough. In early March, Sir David criticized the plans for the bridge and laid out the damage it would cost the fragile ecosystem in Kinabatangan. For more details about the cancellation of the Sukau bridge project please click here.

Our work monitoring deforestation in orangutan range in the Kinabatangan continues. If you would like to report to us regarding deforestation, orangutan abuse/killing in Kinabatangan please contact us here. If you prefer to report to us anonymously you can create a Gmail, Hotmail or other account without using your real name.

California and London demo for Lasah

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Photo: London demonstration @HannahMorrisPhotography

In March supporters in California and London of the campaign for Lasah organised public demonstrations for the abused and exploited Malaysian elephant .

A huge thank you to supporters who showed up at the demonstration for Lasah outside the Malaysian embassy in London, and to Hannah Morris Photography [HMP] for the selfless time and effort spent on organising this.

Thank you too to Supporters Christina Ku and Ariane Gogny who organised a demonstration for Lasah in Santa Monica, California.

The government of Malaysia has responded to your pressure and only continued pressure will help #FreeLasah from a life of slavery and chains.  Public show of support is extremely vital to this campaign and we urgently need more supporters to organise similar demonstrations. Please get in touch with us here if needed

For more photos from both demonstrations please click here.

 

Meeting with the environment minister

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Dear Supporter,

After several months of trying we have today been granted an audience with the environment minister of Malaysia, which will take place tomorrow, 1st March. Could you please help us tweet to the environment ministry to let them know you continue to demand for Lasah’s freedom? Simply click on the link below to tweet now!

https://ctt.ec/hf5Fc

Thank you to those who have recently written to the environment minister, we appreciate it.

Updates on our meeting with the minister and others will be posted soon. In the meantime please check this link to know what else you can do for Lasah.

http://www.fotomalaysia.org/?p=1870

We now only need just under 1,400 signatures to reach the 400,000 signature mark. Will you please help share this petition on your social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter?

 

Thank you for your kind, persistent support. With you, we have campaigned for Lasah for seven months now and we won’t give up.

From,
Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia

 

P1180483

Lasah Elephant Campaign – Care2.com Update

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Update: 28 November 2016

Note to supporters: It seems that we might only be able to send out five updates through a Care2.com petition and we have just made our 5th update on the Care2.com petition for Lasah. Therefore, we suggest you sign the other petition for Lasah at Change.org as there are no limits to sending out updates on Change.org petitions. After signing the Change.org petition for Lasah you will automatically receive future updates into your email. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Dear supporter,

Thank you for helping us reach 389,450 signatures. We hope you will share the Care2 petition so we may reach 400,000 soon. We appreciate your persistent support for the campaign to #FreeLasah from his daily misery at the Langkawi Elephant Adventures [LEA] on the holiday island of Langkawi, north of Malaysia.

We recently submitted this petition and the one at Change.org to the Malaysian prime minister’s office. We will submit both petitions to the Malaysian wildlife department this week. In the meantime we are still making efforts to secure a meeting with the Malaysian Environment Minister to submit the petitions personally and to ask the minister to get Lasah transferred to the elephant sanctuary here.

To date 649 supporters like yourself have written to the Environment Ministry Malaysia to demand that Lasah be freed. Thank you very much! If you haven’t written please help keep the pressure up by writing today. Click here for details.

In the meantime, if you would like to, please leave a comment/rating on these pages to help other travelers do the right thing. Click on both links below to know more:

http://tinyurl.com/elephantcafelangkawi

https://www.facebook.com/ElephantAdventures/

Follow FOTO Malaysia on Twitter today and please help us retweet our tweets to #FreeLasah.

Since our campaign for Lasah started we have persistently asked the government, through the Environment Ministry [NRE], [the wildlife department and prime minister’s department are also copied] to urgently transfer Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. And we will continue to do so.

The Asia for Animals coalition continues to support this campaign and have shared latest details regarding this in their November newsletter.

Thank you for your support which we truly appreciate.

 

 

FOTO Malaysia government response regarding Lasah

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On October 17th the Department of Wildlife and National Parks [the wildlife department of West Malaysia, better known as Perhilitan] responded to our and supporters’ call for Lasah the solitary working elephant on Langkawi island to be transferred to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. It has come to our attention that supporters of the campaign for Lasah were blind copied into the response by Perhilitan and we have decided make public our reply to Perhilitan. Below is their email followed by our response.

We hope to get continued support from you for Lasah. Visit this link for updates and more action you can take.

 

From: Perhilitan

Date: 17 October 2016

—–

Dear Sir / Madam,

We have received your letter expressing concerns about Lasah, the elephant in Langkawi Elephant Adventure.

Thank you for your concern on this matter. For your information, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Malaysia through the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia has investigated these allegations and given a written response on the said matter to Malaysian media in July 2016, included here for your reference:(http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/07/17/langkawi-elephant-found-in-good-health-says-parks-official/).

The Malaysian Government is serious and committed to wildlife conservation and protection for a sustainable future for all. Your concerns on animal welfare are very much appreciated. Thorough investigations and checks have been conducted in the Langkawi Elephant Adventures premises and investigations have found the elephant to be healthy. The condition of the premises was also found to be adequate, as it fulfilled the requirements set by the department with wide spaces, shade and such.

We take this matter very seriously, therefore, we would also like to seek for your kind attention and cooperation to verify with us any issue or information so as to help us focus our efforts and resources on issues that are genuine and need to be addressed.

—end—

 

On 18th October Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia responded to Perhilitan. Our email is as below:

 

—–

To: Mr. Abdul Kadir bin Abu Hashim
Director-General,
Department of Wildlife and National Parks [Perhilitan]

 

Dear Sir,We thank the department for the response provided. It is much appreciated. Kindly see our notes below.

1. The department declared that Lasah is healthy. However, Langkawi Elephant Adventure [LEA] has publicly announced  that Lasah “…has a medical condition that has “bugged us since” that requires them to occasionally prevent sores under the supervision of its veterinarian.” In this instance isn’t the caring and experienced staff at Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary able to provide better veterinary and husbandry care for Lasah at the sanctuary?

2. Has the department considered the comments by elephant experts we have consulted? Has the department contacted elephant vet and expert Dr. Philip Ensley, who has expressed his willingness to help?

Dr Deepani Jayantha of Elemotion Foundation International, one of several experts including globally respected experts like Ms. Carol Buckley and Dr. Ian Redmond, has previously commented regarding Lasah’s plight:

“For an animal like Lasah, which has already spent so many years in captivity entertaining people will definitely have a better life in a well managed elephant sanctuary. Better nutrition, more space, adequate water, proper exercise and rest along with social interactions will make its life healthier.”

2. Referring to the 3rd paragraph in the response, please could the department expand what does it mean by “adequate” conditions for Lasah? What standards were used please?

3. Is Lasah chained everytime LEA is closed? According to the Wildlife Conservation (Operation Of Zoo) Regulations 2012 elephants must be provided with a night stall:

Inline image 1

 

Besides elephant experts, respected NGOs have also asked for Lasah to be transferred to Kuala Gandah. They include:

Animal Guardians
Animal People
Animals Asia Foundation
ACRES
Blue Cross of India
Change for Animals Foundation
Earth Island Institute
Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations
Humane Society International
International Animal Rescue
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Jakarta Animal Aid Network
Philippine Animal Welfare Society
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Hong Kong
Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
World Animal Protection

Supporters who were blind copied into the response below have written to us to express their disappointment and frustration at the department’s reaction.

Our organisation is asking for the Natural Resources & Environment Ministry (NRE) and Perhilitan to transfer Lasah to Kuala Gandah on the basis on animal welfare, regardless of LEA’s compliance/non-compliance with the wildlife law. Lasah has suffered for many years and it is time he is given the respect and care he deserves.

We hope to hear from the department/NRE soon. Thank you.

—end—

Orangutan public awareness volunteers wanted

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Friends of the Orangutans (Malaysia) is currently looking to enlist two highly passionate Malaysian volunteers, part time, to join us in preserving our national heritage, the orangutan. You will play a major role in our awareness raising programme on orangutan conservation.

 

Responsibilities:

–          Lead and conduct awareness raising programmes in national schools and in public,

–          Communicate with national schools to set schedules for presentations,

–          Take part in public events organized by the NGO.

 

Requirements:

–          Able to conduct awareness raising programmes during weekdays too

–          Fervent passion and beliefs in animal rights and environmental issues,

–          Good communication skills

–          Punctuality,

–          Proficient in Bahasa Malaysia, both written and spoken,

–          Good command of English, both written and spoken,

–          Computer proficient, especially with MS Power Point,

–          Valid driving licence, preferably possess your own vehicle

–          Based in Kuala Lumpur/Selangor

 

This is a volunteer position. However, your traveling costs will be covered by the NGO.

 

Interested candidates should email us and include a copy of your resume.

For more details please email us at info@fotomalaysia.org, thank you.

Free Lasah the elephant

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If most of the email addresses below fail/bounce please re-send the same email to all the email addresses. If some fail/bounce, no worries!

 

Please write to:

Y.B. Dato Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi Bin Tuanku Jaafar (Environment Minister of Malaysia)

wanjunaidi@nre.gov.my

 

CC your email to:

noorina.berahim@jpm.gov.my,aduannre@nre.gov.my,othmanm@jpm.gov.my,pauzan@jpm.gov.my,nor,

yamuna@nre.gov.my,puteh@nre.gov.my,nosrat@wildlife.gov.my,pakp@wildlife.gov.my,info@fotomalaysia.org

It would be great if you could also CC emails of the Malaysian embassy in the country you live. Emails can be obtained from this link.

You may use this email draft below if you wish. Please feel free to make changes.

Dear YB Dato Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi Bin Tuanku Jaafar,

 

The Langkawi Elephant Adventures on Langkawi island has held the elephant Lasah under deplorable conditions for ten years and used him for elephant rides. Investigators also found Lasah kept in brutal conditions behind public eyes, chained on all four legs. Is Lasah chained in this cruel manner during LEA’s closing hours? This is devastating for a social animal like Lasah and his treatment is unacceptable.

Lasah has spent over 20 years in several zoos, forced to work in a logging camp, perform in shows including in a popular Malaysian entertainment outlet and used in commercials and films.

Lasah has endured a lonely life of exploitation at the Langkawi Elephant Adventures and other places long enough. Over 370,000 supporters around the world have spoken up for Lasah through the Care2.com petition at this link http://tinyurl.com/freelasah3. It is disgraceful what this elephant has endured all these years. It is time the Malaysian government put an end to Lasah’s suffering.

I join FOTO Malaysia and other animal lovers like myself from around the world in asking you to please order the transfer of Lasah to the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary where he will have the companionship of other elephants, space, and care that he deserves for the rest of his life.

Thank you.

 

Yours Sincerely,

[Your name here]

 

Why you should stay away from orangutan rehabilitation centres

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What’s wrong with visiting orangutan [and other great ape] rehabilitation centres? Orangutans undergoing rehab should not/must not be exposed to the public for two reasons:

1. Risk of disease transmission – orangutans who contract diseases such as hepatitis or tuberculosis [from humans] may not be releasable into the wild and doomed to a lifetime of captivity. Humans can also get infected by orangutans as we share 97% of their DNA.

2. Habituation to humans – ethical and responsible orangutan rehab centres such as International Animal Rescue’s orangutan rehabilitation centre in Ketapang, Indonesia, strictly control the presence of humans in their centres. Habituated orangutans may fail rehabilitation and never make it back into the wild.

Please stay away from rehab centres such as the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre [SORC] and Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation. The latter isn’t a rehab centre at all in the first place while the management of Sepilok is aware that tourism must not be allowed in great ape rehabilitation centres. Not only that, by allowing tourism Sepilok is openly breaking “Best practice guidelines for great ape tourism” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. If you want to see orangutans in Malaysia, see them in the wild, like at Kinabatangan in Sabah, Malaysia.

Please also read Orangutan Project’s excellent article on human-orangutan contact and its consequences, click here to read.

 

Three photos in this post of visitors to Sepilok in contact with orangutans.

 

14446046_1652329131746691_8017310801393534335_n   14468265_1652329151746689_3876523950337350984_o

 

The banks and investors exposed to deforestation risks in Southeast Asia

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Rainforest Action Network has produced an excellent report on financiers which backs companies involved in forest destruction, including for palm oil. The report can be viewed at this website: http://forestsandfinance.org/

Meanwhile, Clean Malaysia has published article with a summary of the report. Link to the article can be found here. Excerpt from Clean Malaysia’s article is as follows:

“Between 2010 and 2015 lenders from around the world gave an estimated total of US$50 billion (RM205 billion) to corporate entities, including palm oil companies, that engaged in extensive deforestation in the two countries. The total value of loans Malaysian banks gave to companies engaged in forest clearance amounted to US$7.7 billion (RM31.6 billion).

The top two financiers of companies that posed threats to forests were Malayan Banking and CIMB in Malaysia: each provided loans amounting to US$2.5 billion (RM10.25 billion) for such purposes.”