I read a very disturbing story about an elephant who was stabbed to death in Vietnam. The photos are so gruesome I cannot post them. This 38-year-old tusker spent his life in captivity entertaining tourists. He was attacked twice last year and it took months to nurse him back to health. This time, the hairs on his tail cost him his life.
I usually do not post such deeply disturbing stories but I feel a responsibility to this elephant to not let his suffering be in vain. The degree to which humans can harm another being is something I simply cannot comprehend. This elephant was held in captivity to feed tourism, the key component in the abuse and suffering of captive elephants. As long as tourists participate in elephant safaris, shows, rides, photo ops, feeding and petting, elephants will continue to be abused and killed.
While I was in Nepal this past March/April providing foot care, Dr. Griry, the head government veterinarian, trimmed the tail hairs from elephants to ensure they would not be attacked. I was horrified by stories about attackers in Nepal hacking off the end of an elephant tail to collect the hairs.
Last update 24/04/2011 04:51:00 PM (GMT+7)
Da Lat: Elephant stabbed to death
VietNamNet Bridge – A 38 year old male elephant, named Beckham, was killed in the Tuyen Lam Lake Tourism Area in the resort city of Da Lat on April 24.
The elephant was found dead near Tuyen Lam forest with two cuts on his two hind legs. It is said that the elephant died because of losing blood from the two cuts. Its ivory and tail however were not removed.
Phan Thi Hoa, director of the Nam Qua Ecological Tourism Co., Ltd, which owns the elephant, said that the elephant was still healthy on April 23. Its corpse was detected by elephant keepers on the morning of April 24, around 1km from the Tuyen Lam tourist site.
The elephant was raised by Nam Qua Company to serve tourists in the Tuyen Lam tourist site.
Before the lunar New Year, this elephant was attacked twice and injured seriously, but fortunately survived the elephant tusk and tail hair hunters.
“We had to hire a veterinary doctor to take care of him for weeks. It had just recovered four months before it was killed,” said Hoa.
In August 2010, some elephants in Da Lat’s tourist sites were attacked to take tail hairs. It is said that elephant tail hairs are “sacred objects”, so elephants are often attacked.
Last update 26/04/2011 03:49:49 PM (GMT+7)
Da Lat’s elephant corpse is burned
VietNamNet Bridge – The corpse of the elephant which was killed in the Central Highland city of Da Lat several days ago was burned on April 25, under the witness of local forest protection agency and relevant agencies.
Ten young staff members at the Tuyen Lam tourist site were mobilized to burn the dead elephant. The task was estimated to take place in one day.
The entire elephant corpse, including tale and ivory, was burnt by petrol and wood.
The tourist site’s manager, Anh Vu, said that the elephant, named after British football star Beckham, was dead for one day, but the smell was very bad, so it must be burned urgently.
Beckham had been bred at the tourist site for a long time and it was the most beautiful elephant in Da Lat. The elephant had both tusks and tail, while other elephants in Da Lat have lost these parts. Beckham was very obedient, gentle and friendly.
The elephant was around 4 tons, 38 years old. It was bought from the Dak Lak province in 2000, at the price of VND700 million (around US$40,000). Its job was serving tourists at the Tuyen Lam tourist site.
Beckham was found dead in the forest around 3km from the Tuyen Lam tourist site on April 24, next to pools of blood. The elephant was stabbed and its hind leg tendons were cut off. However, its tusks and tail were not chopped. An axe was found near the elephant corpse.
Last year the elephant was attacked twice, suffering 38 wounds, and it took him several months to treat the wounds.
Local police are investigating the case. Some elephant keepers said that the murderer might be familiar to the elephant.
According to the Da Lat Forest Protection Bureau, there are five elephants at tourist sites in Da Lat now.
The Central Highland province of Dak Lak currently has the highest number of tamed elephants in Vietnam. In the 1980s, the province had more than 500 elephants, but the current number is only 54.