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asian elephants, thailand, thai elephants

A wild elephant investigates a pickup truck in Thiland – Photo: © IUCN / Bampen Chaiyarak

A new study conducted by the Thai foundation Bring the Elephant Home (BTEH) shows that certain types of deterrence measures could reduce human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Thailand, and save lives on both sides. The study’s findings suggest that people’s interest in conserving elephants is more or less proportional to how much they stand to gain from the animals’ presence. It also found that those currently in conflict with elephants show a willingness to shift to alternative methods of deterrence to those currently being employed.

Elephants, revered and loved for ages in Thailand, have lately become a problem. Human settlements are expanding into elephant habitat, leaving wild populations of the species no other option but to invade human territory. Here, they can ravage plantations and destroy houses, which often escalates into direct confrontation. Conflicts between people and elephants result in hundreds of deaths per year on both sides, and pose a significant threat to the survival of Asian elephants, which are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

Read the full article here.

By IUCN.

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recycling, sustainability thailand, children recycling

Photo: © Siriporn Sriaram – IUCN/MFF

In a special World Environment Day op-ed, Aban Marker Kabraji, Regional Director for IUCN Asia and Director of IUCN’s Regional Hub for Asia-Oceania, writes about grassroots initiatives and efforts to engage the private sector that IUCN and Mangroves for the Future are already undertaking.

In Trat, residents of Mairood are showing how local action is not only possible and replicable, but also empowering and lasting. Through a project initiated by Mangroves for the Future (MFF), a joint IUCN and UNDP programme that provides grants across 11 countries, the community has started sorting, composting and recycling waste, and is looking to reduce collected waste by 80%.

Read the full article here.

By IUCN News.

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As the global mindset shifts towards a more sustainable future, resorts in Thailand are also taking initiatives in this direction. These efforts are accelerating positive change in the tourism industry. Here are some initiatives that resorts are taking to show that luxury and sustainability can go hand-in-hand.

Cleaning:

Community:

Construction:

  • Soneva Kiri: Materials used to construct the resort are natural and from sustainable sources.
  • Six Senses Yao Noi: Utilises surrounding nature & natural resources to educate guests.
  • Bangkok Treehouse: Energy from renewable sources.
  • Tongsai Bay: No trees were cut during the resort’s construction.

Food:

Waste:

  • Soneva Kiri: Single use plastics and imported water bottles are banned.
  • Soneva Kiri: Waste management is done by onsite composting and a bio-fuel plant within the resort provides fuel to run conventional engines.
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Credit: Chiang Mai Citylife

It is easy to blame the government for a lack of bans, but responsibility also lies in the will of the people, or lack thereof. Without a public outcry for stricter regulations, plastic bans remain elusive. Part of the problem stems from a lack of education, the laissez faire attitude of so many and the fact that there are many people who do not know the extent and dangers of plastic pollution. Dr. Sate Sampattagul is a researcher and professor at Chiang Mai University in the faculty of engineering. “Many people don’t understand how bad the situation is that we are facing,” he said, and explains that his research evaluates environmental impacts. “Research alone can only do so much. We need someone to bridge research with government policy,” he suggested. “To make a project you need to push really hard to get it started,” he said.

The hope from all these groups is that the efforts of the few will be adopted by the many. Bringing about a cultural norm of caring for the environment over convenience in the moment may be the best way to evoke lasting change. As Pradorn maintained, “I mostly work with individuals. Saying I work with the government or with the municipality is too small. Actually, there is no power there. You want to connect with something deeper.”

Read the full article here.

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Credit: Sereechai Puttes, Time Out Bangkok

SOS Thailand’s COO tells us how we can get more out of food waste

Bangkok is a huge buffet city, with hotels and restaurants offering daily eat-all-you-can feasts or Sunday brunch specials. Many of these buffets prepare more food than their guests can consume—better be safe than have to deal with hungry, disgruntled customers complaining that there wasn’t enough roast beef.

But have you ever wondered what these restaurants do with all their excess food? Most become food waste, ending up in trash bins and, later, landfills. (64 percent of Bangkok landfills are made up of food waste.) Have you ever wondered if there was any way you could perhaps make sure that all these surplus food doesn’t just go to the bin? An NGO in Thailand has.

Read the full article to find out more here.

By Gail Piyanan and Thana Boonlert for Time Out Bangkok.

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Maya Bay is one of Thailand’s most famous beaches but worries over damage to its coral reefs will close it during low season to help it recover. Photograph: ColorPlayer/Getty Images

The bucket-list beach on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh became famous when it featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, but environmental concerns mean it will close to tourists from June

It is one of the world’s most famous beaches, thanks to its starring role in Danny Boyle’s film of Alex Garland’s bestselling novel, and is often referred to simply as “the beach”. However, this summer Maya Bay, on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, will be closed to tourists as authorities attempt to reverse decades of damage done to the region’s marine environment.

The closure will take place from June to September, during the island’s low season, in order to give its coral reef time to recover. While similar measures have been introduced on other Thai islands – in 2016 local authorities closed Koh Tachai – it is the first time tourists will be forbidden from visiting Maya Bay.

Read the full article here.

By  for The Guardian.

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Cigarette butts pose a risk to beach ecosystems, say Thailand government officials. Photograph: Dean Lewins/EPA

Those caught lighting up could face a year’s imprisonment as the government seeks to end pollution and drain damage on Thai beaches caused by discarded cigarette butts

Thailand is to ban smoking on some of the country’s most popular tourist beaches, with the prospect of up to a year in prison for those caught lighting up, according to reports by local media.

The move follows a recent survey of litter on Patong beach, Phuket – visited by millions of foreign tourists each year – which found an average of 0.76 cigarette butts per square metre in a sample area, which would amount to 101,058 butts on the 2.5km-long stretch of sand.

The survey was undertaken by the country’s department of marine and coastal resources, which described it as a “serious problem”. Discarded cigarette butts accounted for a third of rubbish collected by the department.

Read the full article on Thailand’s plan to ban smoking on some of the country’s most popular tourist beaches here.

By Will Coldwell for The Guardian.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Rising demand for Thai organic goods in both local and export markets has prompted the government to pursue a range of initiatives aimed at encouraging organic farming practices.

 

The state is launching a new programme to promote organic agriculture by encouraging a reduction in the amount of new rice planting, and a shift from commercial varieties to organic strains …

Read more here. 

 

By Oxford Business Group

 

 

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Photographer: Wayne Lawrence for Bloomberg Businessweek

A mahout, wearing the traditional mohom outfit—denim, red neckerchief, and yellow straw hat—sits atop an elephant at Anantara.

Anantara Golden Triangle in northern Thailand is one of the only places where you can ethically interact with the country’s elephants.

 

I’m half-submerged in the Mekong River—the watery border that ­separates Laos from Thailand and Myanmar—sitting atop a big-eared, pink-spotted, 3-ton elephant named Poonlarp. Her skin looks soft from a distance, but it’s much coarser up close, covered in inch-long bristles. Her gait, which at first gives the appearance of flowing-through-honey movement, feels wobbly up this high. She’s alternately headstrong and playful. If you’ve ever walked a large, stubborn dog, you have an idea what it’s like to ride an elephant. This is the ­bucket-list item that brings people here to Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.

 

Read more about ethically interacting with elephants at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort here. 

 

 

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World Wetlands Day: IUCN launches regional project to enhance resilience of wetlands in Lower Mekong countries

Categories: Asia, Climate, Featured Post, Planet
Comments Off on World Wetlands Day: IUCN launches regional project to enhance resilience of wetlands in Lower Mekong countries

On the occasion of World Wetlands Day on February 2, IUCN is announcing the launch of a regional project to enhance the resilience of wetlands in Lower Mekong countries. Funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), and to be implemented until 2020, the Mekong WET: Building Resilience of Wetlands in the Lower Mekong Region” project aims to build climate resilience by harnessing the benefits of wetlands in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam.


wetlands in Lower Mekong

Photo: © Pheakdey Sorn/IUCN

Mekong WET will help the four countries to address their commitments to the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, and to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. With wetlands featured as a key ecosystem, the project also supports governments in implementing their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) under the Convention on Biological Diversity and pursuing their commitments on climate change adaptation and mitigation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. By International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Read more.

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