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Mae Sa Elephant Camp On The Brink Of Closure

18 Jul, 2023

Chiang Mai: Family-run Mae Sa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim district of this northern province could face closure due to a prolonged inheritance legal battle between the camp owner's eldest daughter and his wife (her stepmother).

Anchalee Kalamaphijit, the manager of the Mae Sa Elephant Camp and the eldest daughter of the late camp owner, Chuchart Kalamaphijit, said on Monday that the camp is having liquidity problems.

One issue affecting the camp's situation is the ongoing legal dispute related to Chuchart's will, which passes on businesses worth one billion baht to his children and his wife, she said.

Ms Anchalee said that officials from the State Property Office had sent notices of the camp's pending payment of rental fees for their campsite, worth several hundred thousand baht.

Months before his death, Chuchart had made his wife, Thitirat Kalamaphijit, and his son co-executors of the will, giving them a large amount of money while leaving his eldest daughter only a pair of tusks.

However, Ms Anchalee was later made another co-executor of her father's will.

She also filed a lawsuit against six suspects accused of embezzling 117 million baht of her father's money.

With these disputes having rumbled on since 2019, coupled with the loss of revenue during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mae Sa Elephant Camp had to cancel its elephant show to cut costs.

Ms Anchalee said that many mahouts had resigned, and the business has been downsized, leaving only an elephant care programme where tourists can help bathe and feed elephants.

"We are pushing Mae Sa Elephant Camp to become a foundation so that domestic and international visitors will still be able to experience elephant conservation in nature," said Ms Anchalee.



Bangkok Post

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