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EXPOSED: Elephant in Langkawi Forced to Give Rides, Prohibited to Lie Down to Sleep

Sep 07, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

In one of the most horrific cases of animal abuse, an elephant in Langkawi Island, Malaysia has been forced to give rides to tourists all day for 10 years but is prohibited to even lie down to rest.

An Elephant with Many Lives

Meet Lasah, a 36-year-old Asian elephant, who, according to The Dodo, has gone through a lot in his lifetime. Lasah was not born in captivity but had since fallen into the hands of zookeepers. He has also worked as a log hauler at a logging camp, a performer that starred in many commercials and even appeared in the film "Anna and the King."

In March 2006, after years of abuse and exploitation, the animal was sent to Langkawi Elephant Adventures (LEA). However, Lasah's stay at LEA was not a peaceful island life for the aging animal as things turn for the worse.

Worst Form of Animal Abuse

At LEA, Lasah had to work for hours under the island's intense heat and humidity. But away from the tourists' eyes, investigators from animal rights group Friends of the Orangutans (FOTO) reports that Lasah endures brutal living conditions.

After a long day, the elephant is chained on all four legs for long hours, hindering him to even lie down to sleep. The group describes Lasah's condition as "the worst form of animal abuse" because not only is the animal chained barbarically, he is also being used for monetary gain through tourism, FMT reports.

“We’re inclined to think he’s chained in the same manner every night and it’s no surprise he is severely underweight,” said FOTO Director Upreshpal Singh. "You have to feel sorry for how this elephant has been exploited by greedy, money-grubbing individuals all these years.”

Singh notes that the chaining of Lasah is a direct violation of Malaysia's sub-regulation 7(2) of the 2013 Wildlife Conservation (Exhibition) Regulations law.

Help Save Lasah Today

In light of the exposure of Lasah's abuse, FOTO has made a petition to urge the Malaysian Environment Minister to take action on Lasah's well-being. The group is calling for the retirement of the aging animal, sending him to the Kiala Ganda elephant sanctuary.

FOTO is also urging the public to boycott parks and zoos that use animals for profit. Singh notes that even though tourists are not aware of the abuse these animals experience, continuing to go to these parks is an indirect support to animal captivity because they are still adding to the growing demand.

“We will campaign until Lasah is transferred as this once wild gentle beast has suffered enough and we urge all caring Malaysians to join our campaign and speak up for poor Lasah," Singh concluded.

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