Elephant Who Gives Rides All Day Can't Even Lie Down To Rest
"This is the worst form of elephant abuse we have had the misfortune to come across."
Lasah has had many lives: He's starred in a feature film; he's hauled logs; he's been gawked at in a zoo; now he gives rides to tourists all day.
But the life the 36-year-old Asian elephant started with - as a baby elephant in the wild - is probably becoming a dimmer and dimmer memory.
Photos unearthed in July by Friends of the Orangutan (FOTO), appear to show the kind of life he leads when hidden from the public eye. Chained by all four legs, it appears that Lasah can't even lie down to rest.
A petition calling for an end to Lasah's exploitation has already gathered over 198,000 signatures.
"After years of abuse and exploitation Lasah was sent to Langkawi in March 2006 and has since been forced to give rides for hours in sweltering heat and humidity while at the mercy of his handler," FOTO wrote. "Recently investigators found Lasah kept in brutal conditions behind public eyes, chained on all four legs."
According to the group, this chaining method isn't only cruel, it also breaks the Malaysian wildlife law.
"This is the worst form of elephant abuse we have had the misfortune to come across," FOTO'S director Upreshpal Singh said. "Lasah is used and abused for tourist money and we were shocked to find him barbarically chained on all four legs when he isn't being exploited. We're inclined to think he's chained in the same manner every night and it's no surprise he is severely underweight."
Advocates for Lasah hope to send him to the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary.
"In this day and age with all the knowledge we have and understanding of animals feelings and physiology, there is absolutely no excuse to treat another living animal in such a cruel and inhumane way," one person who signed the petition wrote. "This must be stopped so that Lasah can live out his final years with dignity and in comfort."
Langkawi Elephant Adventures did not immediately reply to The Dodo's request for comment.