David Casselman and His New One Million Square Acre Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary

February 24, 20130 Comments

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA wonderful new interview has just been published in Forbes magazine featuring a friend and mentor of mine, David Casselman. Well known as the attorney for Billy the Elephant in the LA Zoo, David has just opened a new one million square acre wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia. He has been working on making this happen for several years, and now it is a reality! The very first elephants just arrived at the sanctuary last month. I encourage you read this compelling interview with David, entitled, “How the life of a chipmunk in Michigan came to save elephants and a million acres in Cambodia.”

David is interviewed by another friend of mine, Michael Tobias. Michael is an ecologist, anthropologist, author and filmmaker. Both David and Michael are important people to me, and they have been important in the lives of many elephants and other animals throughout the world.

David Casselman (Interviewee) - The man behind the Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary

David-Casselman250x250I met David a few years ago when he was fighting a legal battle to free Billy the Elephant from the LA Zoo. He has since tirelessly fought for the elephants and supports many other animal causes with his wife Pamela, another one of my favorite people. In this interview David talks about how he started loving animals and how it came to be that he founded a one million acre reserve called “the Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary”. David has teamed up with the “Elephant Lady” Lek Chailert and her husband Darrick Thomson of the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand to bring rescued elephants to the new Cambodian sanctuary.

In the interview, David says about starting the sanctuary, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference.” And David took the opportunity and turned it into a reality. He goes on to say that he “felt a common link to animals and people” and that “all living things want and deserve the chance to live in peace”. I think this is wonderful and it rings true to every animal lover’s heart!

Michael Tobias (Interviewer) – A long-time animal advocate, author and filmmaker

I’d also like to say a few words about Michael Tobias, who interviewed David for this article. I have known Michael for over three years. He encouraged me early on in my advocacy journey to speak out and be voice for animal rights and to never give up. He has written many books on subjects such as environmental conservation and the exploitation of animals. One of his books, Sanctuary, has wonderful pictures that he and his wife Jane Morrison took from touring sixty countries and visiting over twenty sanctuaries! Michael also wrote Voices from the Underground: For the Love of Animals, in which he follows the lives of well-known animal lovers and activists from such organizations as Farm Animal Sanctuary (FARM); PETA, Sea Shepard, and the Humane Society of US. He also produced some beautiful nature films, like HOTSPOTS, in which he discovers species of plants, insects, and animals that have never been captured on camera before.

Each of us can make a difference

I feel like I share some common bonds with both David and Michael. When I was 14 and thinking about being a part of the documentary, How I became an Elephant, I, too, remember saying to myself that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference. Also, like David said, I too feel a common bond with animals and treat them as beings with feelings, emotions and personalities. Both Michael and David are true examples to me – and all of us – of how we can each do our part, small though it may seem, to make a BIG difference.

I hope you’ll take the time to read and enjoy this wonderful article.



Filed in: AllCurriculumIssue EducationSanctuaries

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