KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 ― French animal activist Brigitte Bardot has urged Putrajaya today to let a wild-born Malaysian elephant kept in captivity in Langkawi to retire in the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.
The retired actress and singer said the Malaysian government should understand the concern for wildlife since it spends millions of ringgit on pandas coming from China.
“I respectfully ask the Malaysian government to retire Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary where he can live as a free elephant without fear of abuse and exploitation.
“This is what Lasah deserves and the gesture of compassion everyone expects from the Malaysian government,” Bardot said in a letter directed to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Serii Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
The 1950s sex symbol, who heads an animal rights foundation, said the male elephant can expressed its natural behaviours such as foraging and interacting with other elephants in Kuala Gandah.
“As you and your Ministry are aware, the only way elephants accept to be ridden by tourists is by being crushed and frequently abused. Thanks to the advent of the internet and different social medias, this fact is now a common knowledge.
“It is also widely known that elephants must not be kept alone in captivity, males included. Depriving Lasah of the companionship of other elephants is cruel and has severe psychological impact on him, not to mention the repetitive elephant rides and the chains,” she said.
In July last year, Langkawi Elephant Adventure had dismissed allegation that it had abused Lasah.
The company’s director, Jason Loh, today said the allegation made by non-governmental organisations — Friends of Orang Utan (Foto) and Nature Alert — that the mammal was being chained and abused for long hours was an exaggerated slander.
Foto and Nature Alert had, in an article carried by a news portal, claimed that the elephant had endured a life of exploitation and abuse after being made one of Langkawi’s tourist attractions for over a decade.