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News from "The Eyes of Thailand" Elephant Documentary

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  • Joseph Cadiz
    April 2010 Elephant News   from The Eyes of Thailand
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3, 2010

      April 2010 Elephant News
        from "The Eyes of Thailand"
      In This Issue
      National Elephant Day
      CITES upholds Ivory Ban
      "Buy Water Bottles, Save Elephants" Begins in May
      Notes from the Elephant Summit
      Quick Links
      Join Our Mailing List
      We've switched to a Facebook PAGE
      Mosha and Soraida

      We're keeping up with the Jones's and migrating our Facebook "Group" to a Facebook Fan Page.

      This will enable us to have unlimited fans and cooler info on tabs, so please become a fan today!

      Thailand's National Elephant Day
      Mosha and Soraida

      March 13th was Thailand's National Elephant Day and I asked Soraida Salwala, the founder of the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital, what the national holiday means to her and the staff and elephants at FAE's Elephant Hospital.  She wrote:

      "The National Elephant Day was named in 1998 on the day they named 'White Elephant' as the National Animal.
      For us at Friends of the Asian Elephant, every day is the elephant's day. We have them around us, taking care of them, treating them, watching the babies grow, closing their eyes when their time come, we feel the pains every day. One day is not enough for them, we need to care for them every day of our lives."

      It is clear that one day of recognition is not enough to save Asian Elephants from the overwork, abuse, or injuries they sustain in Thailand--or the rest of the world--or keep these endangered creatures from going extinct. It is my hope that The Eyes of Thailand documentary will shed light on their plight and inspire viewers to take action! Thank you for supporting us on our quest to save them.

      CITES upholds Ivory Ban
      African Elephant with Tusks
      Like many of our fellow elephant supporters, we watched and read the updates coming out of the Convention on International Trading in Endangered Species (CITIES) in Doha this month.  On March 25th, breathed a sigh of relieve as ElephantVoices reported that the requests from Tanzania and Zambia to down list their elephants populations from Appendix I to II and to begin to trade in ivory were both rejected!

      This success is largely due to the extraordinary collaborations between the African Elephant Coalition (AEC, with 23 African Elephant range states as members) and the informal group Kenya Elephant Forum (KEF), which includes key stakeholders in Kenya (Save the Elephants, Amboseli Trust for Elephants, Kenya Wildlife Service, Youth for Conservation, ElephantVoices and others) co-ordinated by Pat Awori.

      To read more, please visit our blog.

      For more information about Elephant Voices, please visit their website and become a fan of their Facebook Page.


      I'd like to start off this month's newsletter with a heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated toward my Birthday Wish in March.  Between the donations through Facebook and the San Francisco Film Society, we raised enough money to license the archival footage that appears in the newly edited trailer, pay our LLC tax for the year, and cover my attendance fee at the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) Elephant Summit! We even had enough left over to cover part of the cost of a 2-terabyte hard drive to begin the post-production process.  This was an amazing show of support and I am so grateful to have friends and well-wishers on this journey with me!

      We still have a long way to go and a lot of money to raise (U.S. $250,000 to be exact) if we want to be able to release a high quality film on par with other Academy Award winning films, such as The Cove (2009), but I'm optimistic we can do it with your help.

      If you have not donated to The Eyes of Thailand yet, or wish to continue your support, here's how to make a tax-deductible donation:
      • Please make checks payable to "The San Francisco Film Society". Include "The Eyes of Thailand (SPJ 1163)" on the Memo Line and mail it to: P.O. Box 420395; San Francisco, CA 94142
      • For debit or credit card donations, please visit www.eyesofthailand.com and click "Donate Now" listed at the bottom of the page.  It will take you to the secure online donation page for the film's fiscal sponsor, the San Francisco Film Society.
      Other ways to help would be donate another 2-terabyte hard drive for the film or Assistant Editing time to help us log, capture, time code and transcribe the 50 hours worth of footage--a long, but necessary process before we begin editing the film.

      Additionally, if you have leads to any foundations, corporate sponsorships or would like to discuss investing in the film, please email me directly at: windy@...

      Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to sharing more good news soon!

      Belinda's trip to FAE's Elephant Hospital

      The Eyes of Thailand fan and supporter Belinda Ogley visited the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital In February 2010. Here is what she had to say:

      "In February 2010, I flew from Heathrow to Thailand, heading for Sukhothai where I had arranged to stay in the guest house of Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (BLES).  I was somewhat thrilled with
      Belinda Ogley & Soraida Salwala with Motala (Feb 2010).
      Motala new prosthesis
      anticipation.  When I finally met Katherine Connor, the owner of BLES, my anticipation turned to joy - I was surrounded by 200 acres of lush forest and animals (wild life and rescued elephants, dogs, cats, cows, tortoise).

      "Katherine then took me to visit the FAE hospital in Lampang.  Soraida was kind enough to show us around the hospital and introduced us to the patients currently undergoing treatment or requiring life-time care. We spent time with Motala and played with Mosha, both of whom have prosthetic limbs, and the tiny baby elephant, Dante, who was born prematurely.  We watched the vets treat a newcomer who had arrived the night before.

      Soriada Salwala (FAE) & Katherine Connor (BLES).
      Motala new prosthesis
      "I was moved to tears over and over again as we listened to Soraida tell the painful stories of each individual. My tears of sadness were quickly replaced by hope for the future as I watched the vets care so caringly for the sick animals.  It warmed my heart to see Katherine and Soraida together, whose shared passion for the elephants and their welfare has led to a firm and fruitful friendship."

      -Belinda Ogley

      If you've visited Soraida Salwala or FAE's Elephant Hospital and want to tells us about your trip, please email Director Windy Borman.  Your story could appear in our blog or newsletter next!

      Buy Water Bottles, Save Elephants

      EarthLust Basket

      I am happy to announce another fund-raising opportunity for The Eyes of Thailand. From May 1 - June 30, 2010, EarthLust will donate the cost of your purchases to the film, through our fiscal sponsor (the San Francisco Film Society) when you enter a Coupon Code online.

      This is a great way to upgrade from your plastic water bottles to a stainless steel, eco-friendly, re-useable water bottle and support The Eyes of Thailand, too!

      Please mark your calendars and stay tuned for details to order your elephant-friendly, eco-friendly, stainless steel water bottle...

      EarthLust Logo

      Notes from the Elephant Summit
      An excerpt from The Eyes of Thailand Blog

      On March 27, 2010, I attended the Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) Summit for Elephants. It was wonderful to be in a room full of elephant advocates and brainstorm about how to protect Asian and African elephants in captivity and the wild...

      I drove from San Francisco to PAWS in San Andreas particularly to hear Don Tayloe, director of The Last Elephants in Thailand,  speak about the plight of Thai Elephants, which we discuss in The Eyes of Thailand.  Mr. Tayloe attempted to summarize the problems facing Thailand's Elephants--a huge, complex issue--in an hour-long presentation and he managed to cover a lot of ground:
      • the debate around "elephant painting"
      • the loophole in Thailand's Draft Animal Act of 1939 that classifies domesticated/captive Asian Elephants as "livestock" not "endangered species", even if they were captured from the wild, so international rulings by CITES, et al do not apply
      • the exportation of Thai elephants to zoos or other captive environments in China, Japan and Australia, which Soraida Salwala, founder of the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital and featured in The Eyes of Thailand, protests. 
      While there is no proof that the U.S. has not imported any elephants from Thailand, Tayloe quoted a well-known belief among zoo directors that "If you want to increase your zoo attendance, get yourself a baby elephant", a sad, but true fact for everyone at the Elephant Summit...

      My biggest take-away from the summit is that only by finding common ground and a common message will we as elephant advocates be able to make any headway.  If we continue the in-fighting about "good zoo" vs. "bad zoo",  "conservation" vs. "captivity", elephants in the U.S. vs. Africa vs. Asian, we'll continue to be written off as "crazy animal rights people".  Instead, if the message is "We all love elephants, but what is it that we think is important for their well being?" then we have a starting point for a conversation with people on the other side.

      To read the full post, please visit the blog.

      Please continue to support us by:
      Thank you for supporting our quest to educate the world about the plight of the Thai Asian Elephants!

      Windy Borman
      Director & Producer
      The Eyes of Thailand

      Please note that while all donations will receive a tax-deductible recognition letter from Windy Borman and Eyes of Thailand, LLC, only donations of $250+ will receive letters from the film's fiscal sponsor, The San Francisco Film Society.


      You may donate to The Eyes of Thailand by check or debit/credit card: 
      • Please make checks payable to "The San Francisco Film Society".  Include "The Eyes of Thailand (SPJ 1163)" on the Memo Line and mail it to the P.O. Box listed below. 
      • For debit or credit card donations, please visit www.eyesofthailand.com and click the "Donate Now" link at the bottom of the page.  It will take you to the San Francisco Film Society's secure online donation page.

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