———— Important Message from Lek Regarding the Raids from the DNP on Elephant Nature Park ————
Posted by Lek Chailert on March 5, 2012
I would like to give you an update about the situation regarding the Department of National Park Thailand (DNP) and the raids at Elephant Nature Park.
The first and second raids were due to an alleged "hot line" anonymous call that "suspected that we kept 70 wild elephants kept at our park."
On February 8th, the DNP came to check and could not find any wild elephants. All they found was our herd of 35 elephants, most of them handicapped or in poor physical shape after years of human abuse.
All of our elephants have had microchips embedded in them by the government. Some have more than one microchip, as different departments has chosen to place their own. After the DNP finished their raid we asked the official to sign the paper to declare that we did not have these alleged wild elephants. They did with 16 signatures of the people who came to our Park that day.
At that time they required us to show paper ID and ownership papers of all the elephants at the Park.
Most elephant have these certificates at the Park and we showed them the papers that they requested. Some elephants have been donated to us, such as Mae Jan Peng, Sri Prae and Jokia. The donators sometimes keep the original paper and we take a copy as proof. (Please note that the DNP has no legal jurisdiction over domestic elephants, which is what our entire Park herd is legally classified as.)
The DNP were not satisfied and demanded the original papers. It will take time to get all the documents together as some elephants are from provinces far from Chiang Mai and some are from very remote areas.
We asked them to give us 30 days to find all relevant papers.
On February 27th, we received a warning by local officials that the DNP were coming to confiscate our elephants and that the DNP were also looking to make other trouble. I doubted this, but later we found out it was true.
This time the officials told us that the order from the director of DNP was to check about the paperwork regarding the ownership of the Park land itself.
I would like to confirm to all of you that these are in order and please do not worry about this case. All of our land is registered by the government, and we pay tax every year. We have our lawyer team working on this already.
The biggest thing that we worry about now is: what will happen next?
Note: Every time we are raided, we have very obvious questions that their official kept asking our staff - "Did Lek do something to make someone hate her?" Or else, "Do you know why we are here? You must make someone hate you."
We await the next raid and wonder what will be demanded next.