The Greater Mekong region spanning Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern province of Yunnan in China is a biodiversity hotspot teeming with wildlife. According to a new WWF report scientists discovered 126 new species in the region in 2011.
The tragic discovery of six slaughtered elephants in Thailand’s national parks last month has led to the revelation of a greater tragedy taking place in these protected areas. According to a conservationist, the adult elephants are deliberately being killed to capture baby elephants for a growing tourist trade.
Ten years ago Sangduen “Lek” Chailert saw an elephant being mistreated while working in the timber industry. It had a logged chained to it’s body as it tried to move forward. When the chain cut the animal’s skin, its pain moved Chailert so much that she made it her life’s work to help, heal and rescue elephants in a country where the animals are revered but are also still a crucial part of the work force.
In a novel effort to help autistic children learn developmental skills, Elephants are being used in Thailand as part of a therapy program. Parents have observed improvement in their kids’ behavior after interaction with the gentle animals and this first-of-its-kind animal therapy hopes to help more children this way all over the world.