***Shocking photos from Teuk Chhou Zoo confirm our fears as Seila is returned to the same emaciated state she was in in 2011***
Naturally we are very worried about the health of both elephants, but particularly Seila. Kyrie Harrison from New Zealand contacted EARS after she visited Teuk Chhou Zoo on 27th October whilst traveling in Cambodia. She was so horrified by the conditions at the zoo that she researched online and found information about our campaign. Kyrie emailed her photos to us showing shocking images of a skeleton-thin Seila just ONE MONTH after EARS was forced to leave the zoo and stop caring for the elephants.
Kyrie said there was absolutely no food around. The elephants were so hungry they were trying to pull blades of grass from outside the enclosure. "The female [Seila] looked very sad and depressed." This echoes the images from prior to 2011 in which we saw a very forlorn Kiri and Seila desperately reaching for food with very sunken and hollow bodies.
The health of two elephants at the centre of a controversial proposed animal swap between zoos in Cambodia and Japan is deteriorating, just a month after the NGO caring for them was ejected from a Kampot zoo.
Photographic evidence of elephants Kiri and Seila compiled at Teuk Chhou Zoo in Kampot province this week shows protruding bones and one of the elephants resorting to eating grass from the ground outside its enclosure.
According to elephant conservationist Lek Chailert, who has offered the pair a home in a sanctuary she runs in Siem Reap province, they now appear extremely underfed.
“From the photos, it seems that both elephants have lost weight, leaving us all worrying about their condition,” said Chailert yesterday.
In September, conservation group EARS Asia was barred from entering Teuk Chhou Zoo after three years of funding their upkeep.
That followed the group’s vocal opposition to Kiri and Seila’s inclusion in a proposed swap with the Hirakawa Zoo in southern Japan.
EARS fears the journey would be unduly stressful and facilities in Hirakawa Zoo inadequate, while the deplorable conditions at Teuk Chhou suggest it does not have the resources to take on new animals.
EARS Asia has now launched a letter-writing campaign to put pressure on authorities in Cambodia and Japan, after receiving more than 40,000 signatures to petitions calling for the trade to be stopped.
Stop the trade and rescue these starving elephants to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary where they will be given the love and care they urgently need.