Film Cast

Bio Photo Juliette West

JULIETTE WEST

Project Lead

Juliette is a stunning and bright thirteen year old American from Los Angeles. At a young age Juliette developed an affinity for elephants and is presently on a quest to help them. She has explored many American zoos, has interviewed Mike Keele, the chair of the American Zoo Association, LA City Councilman Tony Cardenas, past LA Zoo Commissioner Susan Mazzarella, Colleen Kinzley, Elephant Manager and Animal Curator at Oakland Zoo, Melya Kaplan, Executive Director, Voice for the Animals Foundation, and LA Natural History Museum-Tim Bovard on Culling of Elephants. Juliette also took a due diligence trip with Pat Derby and Ed Stuart discussing Species Survival Plan for Asian Elephants. In the film  she embarked on an unforgettable journey to Thailand to meet Asia’s famous Elephant Lady, Lek Chailert.

“My focus has been to learn about their treatment and well being. My goal is to accumulate knowledge and to share and educate everyone about the wonderful and sometimes cruel treatment of elephants occurring around the world. I am not an activist, rather I think of myself as an educated and concerned voice; an ‘Animal Rights Youth Advocate’ that can inform youth everywhere with the facts I have learned through my travels and interviews. I will do this through my blogs and will speak out whenever I can. I first became interested in elephants when I was 13 and I learned about the controversy going on with Billy at the LA Zoo. I became very concerned about this issue, and started to take action myself by writing letters, and spreading awareness to my friends and family. I worked on this with a local pet adoption center, that I started raising money for at 9 years old.”

 
 
Bio Photo Sangduen Lek Chailert

SANGDUEN CHAILERT, “LEK”

The Elephant Lady

Sangduen “Lek” Chailert was born in 1962 in the small hill tribe village of Baan Lao, two hours north of Chiang Mai. Her love for elephants began when her grandfather, a traditional healer, received a baby elephant as payment for saving a man’s life. Lek would spend many hours with her family’s new friend, named Tongkum or Golden One, which would result in a passion that would shape the rest of her life.

Lek received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Chiang Mai University, and from there moved into working in the elephant tourist industry. While helping owners of trekking companies locate unemployed elephants, Lek quickly learned about the abuse and neglect that domestic Asian elephants experience.

With a love and respect for her country’s national symbol and the knowledge that they were becoming endangered, Lek began advocating for the rights and welfare of Asian elephants in Thailand. In an industry that is steeped in its traditions, advocating for a change to the way domestic and wild Asian elephants are treated has not been an easy battle. But through hard work and determination her voice is beginning to be heard.

In addition to several documentaries about her work by National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet, and the BBC, Lek has also been honored to receive many awards. In 2005, Time Magazine named her a Hero of Asia for her work in conservation. The Ford Foundation in association with National Geographic named Lek a Hero of the Planet in 2001. Additionally, she has received two honorary degrees from Rajabaht Chiang Mai University; a PhD in Sustainability and Conservation in 2002, and a PhD in Veterinary Science in 2006. Finally, the National Geographic documentary Vanishing Giants, highlighting Lek’s work with the Asian elephant, was recognized by the Humane Society of the United States with the Genesis Award in 2003.

In the coming years Lek hopes to bring her message about conservation and the humane treatment of Asian elephants to more people in and outside of Thailand. She will also continue to improve the lives of the rescued elephants living at Elephant Nature Park and provide emergency healthcare to elephants in remote villages throughout Thailand.

 

 

JOYCE POOLE,  Ph.D.

Co-Founder of Elephant Voices

Joyce Poole is Co-Founder of ElephantVoices. She has a Ph.D. in elephant behavior from Cambridge University, and has studied the social behavior and communication of elephants for over thirty years, dedicating her life to their conservation and welfare. Her contributions to science include the discovery of musth in male African elephants, the description of the contextual use of elephant vocalizations, including those below the level of human hearing, and the discovery of vocal imitation.

Her finding that ivory poaching destroys the fabric of elephant society was instrumental to the decision to ban the international trade in ivory in 1989. Her understanding of male elephant behavior, and the importance of social learning and role models in elephant society have been key to the adoption of more humane elephant management practices. Joyce has written two books, numerous scientific papers and popular articles on the subject of elephant behavior and conservation, and has participated in scores of media projects.

As head of the Elephant Program of Kenya Wildlife Service from 1990-1994, Joyce was responsible for elephant conservation and management throughout Kenya. Her knowledge and enthusiasm inspired many Kenyans who hold key elephant management positions in the country today.

In 1996 she was awarded a Smith College Medal for her elephant research, conservation and training in Africa.

 
 

Bio Photo Carol Buckley

Carol Buckley

Sanctuary Founder, Elephant Welfare Consultant & Speaker

Carol founded The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, the nation’s largest natural-habitat sanctuary for old and abused elephants, igniting a worldwide interest in captive Asian elephant welfare. Under her stewardship, the Sanctuary became home to twenty-four elephants, including the first ever elephant confiscation by the United States Department of Agriculture. Carol was honored for her innovative work by the 2001 Genesis Awards and as A Hero for The Planet by TIME magazine. Her work was recently featured in The Chicago Tribune, People magazine, The New York Times magazine, on CNN, Dateline NBC, the Oprah Winfrey Show, National Geographic, and two award winning documentaries, The Urban Elephant and One Lucky Elephant. She has authored three children’s books and contributed to numerous elephant related publications. Carol attended the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College in California.

Carol is a well-known speaker on the subject of elephant care and welfare and recently testified against Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus in a federal abuse case. Her work for elephants spans over 35 years and three continents. In 2010 she founded Elephant Aid International to provide elephant care services abroad.