Lasah is a 37-year-old Asian elephant who was born in the wild in Malaysia. He was captured and taken into captivity when he was a baby, separated from his mum and herd and used in zoos and the entertainment business for over 25 years. He has been forced to work in a logging camp, perform in shows including on a popular Malaysian entertainment outlet, and perform in commercials and films, including the 1999 Hollywood movie Anna and the King.
Eleven years ago he was sent to the popular Malaysian tourist island Langkawi and since then has been used by the profit-making Langkawi Elephant Adventures [LEA]. There, Lasah is used for elephant rides and lives all alone, which is devastating for social animals like elephants. LEA also offers Lasah for other commercial purposes on their website.
When LEA’s facility is closed, Lasah is chained by the feet, spending long hours barely able to move, all by himself. In July 2016, photos of Lasah chained on all four legs were exposed, causing global outrage to this day.
Lasah is treated like a slave and ruled by fear; only by abuse can humans use elephants for tourism purposes including rides. He is a sentient being, probably aware he is being enslaved at the mercy of his current owners. The same can be said for the NhRP’s clients Beulah, Karen, and Minnie, who likewise are treated in a way that denies their autonomy. For these reasons, we at Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia and the Free Lasah campaign are in full support of the NhRP’s lawsuit demanding recognition of elephants’ legal personhood and rights. Elephants all around the world deserve to live life as they choose.