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Elephants Lose Limbs And Lives In Thailand
Award-winning Filmmakers’ fight for Elephant Landmine Survivors in new shocking documentary, “The Eyes of Thailand”, takes them to the International Convention to Ban Landmines in Laos
Leaders Forum in Vientiane, Laos. The ICBL is a 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Co-Laureate responsible for bringingabout the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The film is directed and produced by Windy Borman, who started the film three years ago, and produced by Tim VandeSteeg, who recently produced the award-winning documentary, My Run, narrated by Billy Bob Thornton. “What The Cove was for dolphins, The Eyes of Thailand is for
elephants,” said Borman.
Borman is scheduled to return to the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital outside of Lampang, Thailand, where two widely publicized and recently injured elephants have been transported and are being treated for landmine accidents. It is this hospital and the work of its courageous founder, Soraida Salwala, that originally attracted Borman to the subject and launched her effort to capture the story in The Eyes of
Thailand, a film set to be released in 2011.
This trip represents the final chapter since Borman’s last film shoot in August 2009, when she traveled to Thailand to film Motala, a 48-year old elephant landmine survivor, take her first step on her new prosthetic limb. Building Motala’s prosthesis was a 10-year quest for FAE’s founder, Soraida Salwala, and Dr. Therdchai Jivacate, Associate Professor of Thailand’s Prostheses Foundation. Motala arrived at FAE after stepping on a landmine along the Thai-Myanmar border in August 1999. It wasn’t until a baby elephant landmine survivor arrived at FAE in 2006 that they thought they could build prostheses to help the elephants walk again. Motala took her first steps on her prosthesis on August 16, 2009.
Unfortunately, on August 4, 2010, Mae Ka Pae arrived at FAE’s Elephant Hospital after stepping on a landmine along the Thai-Myanmar border. One month later, Boonmee, stepped on a landmine and was transported to FAE. According to Yeshua Moser-Puanguswan of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, “Thailand is a state party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and is clearing mines from its territory, mostly along its border with Cambodia. All of the elephants at the FAE hospital come from doing illegal logging in Burma, which has not joined the treaty and is the only country in the world today where landmines are being used on a widespread basis.”
“The anniversary of Motala taking her first steps on a prosthesis is bittersweet”