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Seiko Joins Forces with Thailand’s Wildlife Sanctuaries to Protect Elephants and Forests

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In the heart of Kanchanaburi’s Sai Yok district, under the soft hues of twilight, Seiko executives and members of the press gather around, their eyes wide with anticipation. They are here to witness something truly extraordinary – a mahout, with years of experience etched into the lines of his hands, artfully guiding an elephant through the lush expanse of a wildlife sanctuary. This moment, tender and powerful, is immortalized by the clicks and flashes of cameras. Welcome to a day in the life at one of Thailand’s most cherished wildlife havens.

Nestled within the bosom of Thailand’s Western Forest Complex, this sanctuary stands as a testament to the majesty of the country’s wildlife. Here, in this sprawling natural paradise stretching across landscapes, a rich tapestry of life weaves itself together. Predators and their prey thrive in an intricate dance of survival, amidst a sanctuary for some of the nation’s most protected species. Among these, the elephant reigns supreme, not just as a symbol of Thailand but as an enduring emblem of its natural heritage.

On March 13, Thailand pauses to honor these majestic creatures on Thai National Elephant Day. A tradition born from the heart of the Asian Elephant Foundation of Thailand in 1998, this day shines a spotlight on the elephant’s plight and the challenges it faces, from declining populations to the specter of extinction. Yet, it is also a day of hope, a call to arms for conservation, originating from the verdant expanses of the Western Forest Complex.

In the aftermath of World War II, Kanchanaburi transformed. The echo of gunshots rang through its forests, not the call of the wild, as hunting, fueled by leftover arsenals from the war, became a macabre form of entertainment for the affluent. The once abundant wildlife began to dwindle, but from the ashes of devastation, a phoenix rose. Dr. Boonsong Lekagul, a visionary who traded his stethoscope for the mantle of conservation, ignited a movement that would reclaim the forest and safeguard its inhabitants.

In a symbolic gesture that resonated through the halls of power, Dr. Boonsong presented the stuffed head of an extinct Schomburgk’s deer, its life extinguished by a hunter’s bullet in 1932. This act helped herald the creation of Thailand’s first wildlife sanctuary in the Salakpra area of Kanchanaburi in 1965, a sanctuary that has since been a bastion for the country’s wildlife, from the elusive tiger to the majestic elephant.

At the heart of this sanctuary lies the Khao Nam Phu Nature and Wildlife Education Center, a beacon of hope for the country’s conservation efforts. Here, under the stewardship of Seree Nakhon, efforts to breed bantengs and study the majestic tiger and elephant unfold, each step a stride towards understanding and preservation.

Enter the scene, Seiko, the Japanese watchmaking giant, not as an observer but as a crusader for conservation. With its “Save the Forest to Save Our Elephants” campaign, Seiko has woven itself into the fabric of this narrative, championing the cause of elephant conservation and forest preservation. This commitment was underscored by Grand Seiko’s managing director, Akira Sakairi, as he stood on Thai soil, pledging allegiance to the guardianship of nature.

Akira Sakairi speaks of a forest timeless in its beauty and crucial in its need for protection, a treasure that we hold in trust for generations yet unborn. He warns of the dire threat posed by climate change, a specter that looms large over our collective future. Yet, in his words, there is hope and a clarion call for action to safeguard the fragile web of life that binds us all.

The narrative of conservation is one of connectivity, where each creature, no matter how small, plays a vital role in the tapestry of life. This delicate equilibrium is what Seiko strives to protect, to ensure the symphony of the forest plays on for eternity.

It is here, among the verdant greens and dappled sunlight of the sanctuary, that the true champions of the forest emerge. Figures like Alex Rendell, who, through the insights shared on a media trip to an elephant hospital and sanctuary, remind us of the elephant’s indelible mark on the forest ecosystem. From the seeds that germinate in the wake of their passage to the dung that teems with life, giving rise to a new generation of forests and feeding grounds for countless species.

In essence, the journey of the elephant is intrinsically linked to our own. As we marvel at their majesty and work towards their preservation, we not only safeguard their future but also ensure the sustainability of an ecosystem that sustains us in return. So let us celebrate these gentle giants, not just on Thai National Elephant Day, but every day, for they are the true architects of the forest.


  1. ElephantLover March 31, 2024

    It’s really refreshing to see big corporations like Seiko stepping up for conservation efforts. This is exactly what we need more of – real action to save our planet!

    • SkepticalSue March 31, 2024

      While it’s great to see efforts for preservation, I can’t help but wonder if this is just another example of corporate greenwashing. How much of their revenue is actually going towards these projects?

      • ElephantLover March 31, 2024

        That’s a valid point, SkepticalSue. Transparency about funding would definitely help validate their intentions. Still, I prefer to see this as a step in the right direction.

      • GreenThumb March 31, 2024

        Absolutely, transparency is key. But let’s not dismiss the potential positive impact. Actions speak louder than words, and right now, Seiko is taking steps others aren’t.

    • RealistRick March 31, 2024

      Supporting elephant conservation is important, but let’s not forget about the local communities. Their lives are intertwined with these wildlife sanctuaries. Hope Seiko’s plans include them too.

  2. HistoryBuff March 31, 2024

    Dr. Boonsong Lekagul’s transformation from a medical doctor to a conservation pioneer is just fascinating. We need more stories like his to inspire future generations.

    • EnviroKid March 31, 2024

      Yeah! His story sounds like something out of a movie. Makes me want to learn more about conservation.

  3. Jake March 31, 2024

    Honestly, every day should be Elephant Day. It takes continuous effort to make a real difference, not just one-off events or memorials.

  4. ScienceGeek March 31, 2024

    The science behind elephant conservation is just as important as the emotional appeal. Their role in forest regeneration is crucial for biodiversity.

    • BiophilicBrenda March 31, 2024

      Exactly! Elephants are keystone species! Their existence supports the entire ecosystem, from spreading seeds to creating water holes other animals use.

      • ScienceGeek March 31, 2024

        Right, Brenda! It’s all about the interconnectedness of life. Preserving one species leads to a cascade of positive environmental impacts.

  5. EcoWarrior March 31, 2024

    Climate change is the biggest threat not just to elephants but to all living beings. We need more companies like Seiko to take tangible actions now!

    • BudgetWatcher March 31, 2024

      This is all well and good, but have you thought about the cost? Who’s actually paying for these conservation efforts? At the end of the day, it might just be the consumers.

      • EcoWarrior March 31, 2024

        If a small price increase on luxury goods means saving forests and elephants, I think it’s worth it. We can’t put a price on our planet’s future.

  6. CultureVulture March 31, 2024

    Elephants are such an integral part of Thai culture. It’s heartwarming to see their significance being acknowledged and protected in this way.

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