Photograph by Save Elephant Foundation
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This past June, National Geographic Magazine published an investigative feature exploring the dark side of wildlife tourism. While writer Natasha Daly was reporting in the field she came across a severely injured elephant, Gluay Hom, who had been living for years under a performance stadium at Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo outside Bangkok. His feet were tightly chained, he had a bent, swollen leg and a wound at his temple.
National Geographic’s reporting and sharing of this story in the magazine, online and on Instagram led to public outcry from readers. Over 70,000 people signed a Change.org petition calling for help for the elephant. But the prospect of rescue was complicated—under Thai law, he was property, and his owner, Uthen Youngprapakorn, would have to agree to sell or relinquish him.
Save Elephant Foundation was able to negotiate with the owner and bring Gluay Hom to his new home at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. After a 14-hour truck ride on Tuesday, Gluay Hom is getting used to his new surroundings where he is discovering dirt piles and grass after years of living on concrete.
For more information about this rescue, read the full story here.
To read Natasha’s original report, read Wildlife Tourism in the June issue of National Geographic magazine here.
Natasha Daly is the investigative reporter on this story and is available for interviews near Toronto, Canada.