Press Release

Elephanatics Appalled at Thailand’s Decision to Reverse 10-Year Ban on Live Elephant Export

For Immediate Release May 22nd, 2019

Vancouver, BC – The Ministry of Commerce in Thailand has recently issued regulations regarding the rules, procedures and conditions for the export of its elephants. The trade of live elephants to other countries will be permitted, effective June 23, 2019.

The conditions under which the export of Asian elephants would be approved are:

  1. sending elephants for research studies;
  2. sending elephants for positive international relations; and
  3. sending parts or products derived from elephants for academic research or as antiques/art


The Asian elephant is officially endangered with a population of less than 50,000 worldwide. Vancouver-based non-profit, Elephanatics, says this will inevitably fuel poaching throughout Asia for ivory, elephant skin, hair and elephants themselves. They strongly oppose the reversal of the ban that has been in place for ten years.

In Thailand there are approximately 3,700 captive working elephants, and around just 1,000 remain in the wild. Asian elephants became an endangered species in 1986. These regulations open a loophole which could allow for illegal trade, threatening the very existence of Thailand’s national symbol.

Captive elephants suffer terribly in captivity. Shortened lifespans, health issues, and emotional trauma from being separated from their herd, defies the standards set by the World Association for Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Many of the countries importing live elephants do not have the weather or environment that elephants can acclimate to, condemning them to a lifetime of suffering.

The trade in elephant parts including elephant skin, hair and ivory fuels an already unmanageable multi-billion dollar illegal trade in wildlife that threatens remaining populations.

“Studies have shown that wherever loopholes exist in the regulation of wildlife trade – and particularly elephants and their parts – it strengthens the illegal black market. Additionally, the emotional intelligence of elephants is well documented. In this day and age it is inexcusable for elephants to be exported for displays in zoos and circuses, for research or as a gift,” says Fran Duthie, president of Elephanatics.

Thailand’s tourism trade has been shifting towards a more ethical model that encourages tourists to experience elephants in a respectful and compassionate fashion. Instead of riding elephants, visitors are encouraged to walk behind them and feed them. Sanctuaries are gaining momentum as tourists learn of the trauma and abuse inflicted on these intelligent and emotional animals.

Elephanatics strongly urges the Thai government to pursue a policy of ethical and compassionate treatment of their national symbol and reinstate the ban on the export of elephants.

About Elephanatics:

Elephanatics is a Vancouver-based elephant advocacy organisation that promotes the long-term survival of African and Asian elephants through conservation, education and action.

Media Contact:

Tessa Vanderkop – Director of Advocacy 604-789-8886 elephanaticsinfo@gmail.com www.elephanatics.org

20,000 elephants are killed every year

Sign the petition that will also go to the government. We need as many signatures as possible (Canadian or international citizens)! Let’s get to 200K signatures! Share it on facebook and twitter.

GMFER San Diego

#GMFER #SanDiego
A huge Congratulations to Nsefu Wildlife and Beth Hill for doing such a great job at their GMFER!

Elephanatics was very pleased to be part of their event. A big thanks to Lynn Howard and Cynthia Fitzpatrick and Jackie for representing Elephanatics and our #ivoryfreecanada campaign. We appreciate it beyond elephant words 

View their terrific video here: GMFER SD 2019




Elephanatics April 2019 Newsletter

Our April Newsletter is Out! Have a Look at What We’ve Been Up to.





Government Ignores Popular Campaign for Ban on Canadian Ivory Trade

Hundreds of thousands of people are calling for a total ban on the sale of elephant ivory in Canada. Yet the government has not responded. A petition that now has over 310,000 signatures, was first sent to the federal government nearly a year ago.

It was launched by Elephanatics, a Vancouver-based elephant advocacy organization, which sent the petition and a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in March 2018.  But the ministry has yet to answer the letter or even acknowledge the petition which was one of the biggest Canadian petitions of 2018 on Change.org.

The letter was endorsed by 95 national and international scientists, conservationists and animal welfare organizations, including SPCA, Jane Goodall Institute, Born Free and Wildlife At Risk International.

Elephanatics believes a domestic ivory ban is more important than ever. A staggering 20,000 African elephants are killed each year. Scientists anticipate they will be extinct in the wild within 20 years if illegal poaching isn’t controlled. With the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Flora and Fauna (CITES) approaching in May, the need for an answer is imperative.

“We are perplexed as to why we haven’t received an official response,” said Fran Duthie, president of Elephanatics. “We believe that the war on poaching cannot be won until all domestic elephant ivory markets are closed. 71% of Canadians believe it’s already illegal to buy or sell elephant ivory in Canada. This is a moral obligation to save a keystone species and an opportunity for the Canadian government to play a key leadership role in global conservation.”

Elephant poaching is a global problem that requires bold action by countries around the world. Both CITES and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have asked all countries to ban their internal domestic trade of ivory to save elephants. Canada was one of only four countries to vote against this at the last IUCN conference.

Kate Brooks, director of documentary film The Last Animals,states, “It’s absolutely imperative that every country on the planet enact legislation to combat the global wildlife trafficking crisis and stop stimulating demand for ivory by continuing to trade. I hope Canada will join the countries that are standing up for elephants and the rangers who put their lives on the line trying to protect them.”

Several US states, France, China, Philippines and the United Kingdom have banned the sale of ivory within their borders. The Netherlands will close their raw ivory market in 2019; Taiwan will ban its ivory trade by 2020; Hong Kong will follow in 2021; and Singapore is considering the most stringent ban to date.

With the upcoming CITES conference in Sri Lanka in May, Canada has an opportunity to join other countries leading the fight to save elephants from extinction by enacting a legislative ban on the sale of elephant ivory within Canada.

“It’s time for Canadians to take a stand against the elephant ivory trade by banning the domestic trade in Canada,” says Patricia Sims, founder of World Elephant Day.“Canada needs to join the other countries that have already enacted domestic elephant ivory bans and to put political pressure on government at all levels for legislation to stop this senseless buying and selling of elephant ivory within our borders.”

In order to continue to pressure the government into action, Elephanatics and Global March for Elephants & Rhinos – Toronto, are launching an online campaign that will allow members of the public to automatically send an email to their Members of Parliament. With over 310,000signatures, it is clear that the public no longer supports Canada’s current position on ivory legislation.

Proposals for amendment of Appendices I and II – CoP18


Thank You From Elephanatics 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

With another year behind us, we are richer because of you.

We would like to thank all of you who have played an integral part in Elephanatics’ success throughout the year. To those of you who continue to inspire us to push forward against the unconscionable acts perpetrated against elephants, we are only as good as the people who further our efforts and help us attain our ultimate goal of ending the poaching crisis and unethical treatment of all elephants.

I would personally like to thank our Directors, Tessa Vanderkop and Leanne Fogarty, for their relentless spirit and drive, our Advisors for their optimism, encouragement and wisdom, and our Volunteers who have been the backbone to our every success. We are forever in your deepest debt and gratitude.

I would also like to thank the many outstanding elephant organizations that have achieved great strides in poaching prevention through varied technological techniques and organizations in Asia who have focused on a more ethical standard of tourism camps for elephants. We admire your strength, commitment and dedication to ending these crises. And, to the rangers who risk their lives daily to protect their heritage, we acknowledge you as the true heroes in this war.

Just recently, the UK passed the toughest legislation to date with a near-total ban on the trade in ivory. This monumental action will make law enforcement less complicated while making it easier to reduce demand for ivory amongst consumers. Through collaborations and concerted efforts we are making an impact, even though at times they appear thwarted by events taking place on a daily basis around the world that harm elephants.

Our need to be vigilant and stay the course has never been more imperative. Let’s continue on this trajectory of optimism and aim to close further domestic ivory markets in 2019 around the world to include Canada!

Please enjoy some of Elephanatics grand impressions and accomplishments during the year at our events and classroom presentations by clicking on the link below.

We wish you all a Magical and Merry season filled with hope for the future and good health, above all else.

Fran Duthie / President


The Last Animals – a movie by Kate Brooks

The Last Animals 

A powerful documentary about extraordinary people who go to incredible lengths to save elephants & rhinos now available on Netflix in Canada on December 24th @Netflix_CA

TAKE ACTION for an #ivoryfreecanada by signing the petition https://bit.ly/2D6AEI9

Canadian Domestic Ivory Ban Letter to Government

Canadian Domestic Ivory Ban Letter 

‘The Last Animals’ a film by Kate Brooks

The Last Animals is a story about an extraordinary group of people who go to all lengths to save the planet’s last animals. The documentary follows the conservationists, scientists and activists battling poachers and criminal networks to protect elephants and rhinos. From Africa’s front lines to behind the scenes of Asian markets, the film takes an intense look at the global response to this slaughter and the desperate measures to genetically rescue the Northern White rhinos who are on the edge of extinction.

Kate Brooks


Kate Brooks is a world-renowned photographer who has chronicled conflict and human rights issues for nearly two decades. She first began working as a photographer in Russia while documenting child abuse in state orphanages. The resulting photographs were published worldwide and used by the Human Rights Watch to campaign for orphans’ rights.

Kate then proceeded to dedicate herself to covering the post 9/11 decade through to the beginning of the Arab Spring; she is widely known for her extensive work across the Middle East and in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Kate’s photographs are regularly published in magazines, such as TIME, Newsweek, The New Yorker and Smithsonian. She also exhibits her work in museums and galleries across the globe.

In 2010 Kate was as a contributing cinematographer on the multiple award-winning documentary The Boxing Girls of Kabul. Her introspective collection of essays and photos In the Light of Darkness: A Photographer’s Journey After 9/11 was selected by PDN as one of 2011’s best photography books. Kate was then awarded a 2012-13 Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan. There she began researching wildlife trafficking and the pan African poaching epidemic for the documentary film The Last Animals. Kate’s drive and passion for this project comes from the fundamental belief that time is running out and that we are at a critical moment in natural history.

If you haven’t seen this remarkable film yet, please download for purchase through iTunes or rent for your convenience.