Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mahout killed by elephant at Elephant Nature Park (ENP), Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The latest news about a mahout in Thailand, San Tor Ni, age 20 years old, refugee from Burma, and illegally working in Thailand, was killed by the elephant Mee Sook, at the Elephant Nature Park in  Chiang Mai, Thailand. This is supposed to be Mr San Tor, pictured at a Chiang Mai Hospital:

The owner of Elephant Nature Park, Sangduen "Lek" , writes on ENP´s websiteA Tragedy at the Park "He came to someone who works at our park, asking them to help him obtain work at the park. Our staff said he would try. Earlier in the day, Pom, our manager, told our staff that we cannot have him as we have no position open and he also had no work permit .During the lunch time mahouts who stood with their elephant nearby MeeSook’s shelter heard something wrong inside her enclosure and they ran to see what happened, found the young man and helping him out, rushed him immediately to the closest hospital . Tragically, he was badly injured and he succumbed to his injuries at the hospital with our great sadness.". And that's all Mrs Chailert has to say about the 20 year old mans death, the rest of text covers the elephant, in which poor state it was before she bought it, and how much better the elephant now is. Strange? -Yes!  Other sources says that he was indeed employed, and that most Mahouts working at ENP are Burmese refugees, who are very much afraid of telling anyone anything about their work, since they would easily loose their job, and maybe even worse, be punished in court. If this is true, does it almost sounds like slaves?

As colleague mahout, being happy enough to have survived work with some 70 elephants, Im always a little suspicious, when I read about a colleague being killed by an elephant, because often, the reason is something out of the control of the worker, which restricted the persons possibility to work and act, according to his knowledge and experience. Many times, those deaths could have been avoided, if other people would not have intervened in his daily work, reducing his freedom to act, professionally, according to what he learned from his teachers, and to his best knowledge. 

Mrs Chailert also seems to neglect the fact that this was not the first death victim in her park.

According to three independent sources, at least two mahouts were killed by the elephants last year, on the grounds of Elephant Nature Park, something which is nowhere to be read on ENP's website, blogs or Facebook. "2 mahouts were killed (at the grounds) in late July/early August by the elephants moved from TECC that were purchased from Sai Yok elephant camp". One source states that 5 mahouts were killed last year. How many were killed since the Park started? Lek Chailert will of course not tell us, since that would give bad publicity to her cash-driving business.

Jodi Thomas, who edits the Facebook page Elephant Nature Park & Foundation, wrote this on 14 March and her last sentence is very apt: 

"No more words need to be said, and please do not comment on whether or not the boy, Saw Tor Ni should have not been where he was. This could have happened to anyone."

I wrote on my Facebook that it shouldn't have happen to anyone. and the two who was killed last year, shouldn't have been killed either. How many mahouts were killed over the years?

And I had an interesting reply:

Dan, I totally agree with you but what Jodi is admitting is that this could happen to anyone, which means that this is not a safe place to be. When I watch some of the many YouTube videos from ENP you see mahouts with very tense faces, probably because they have to be aware of any sudden moves from the elephants in their proximity to the many visitors.
So who is Lek Chailert, and what is Elephant nature Park and how much money is involved?

Read some of my notes from my visit to ENP back in 2011.


  1. You are a poor excuse of a human being.
    How pathetic and measly you can be to spend your life trying to insult people through your lies and frustration.
    Get a life, loser.... ��

  2. This is fake. Why would you say this about Lek. You are a stupid elephant trainer and she is a very nice and ambitious person who cares for the welfare of these gentle giants. This is also not a cash driving business you asshole. She does this for the elephants.