Elephants have been used by humans to perform a variety of tasks for around 5000 years, but while people have consistently profited, this relationship has not been greatly beneficial to the elephants. Revered throughout Thailand, elephants have greatly influenced Thai culture, myth, and religion, though the deep respect held for the species is unfortunately not often reflected in the treatment of individual elephants. Widespread abuse, poaching, deforestation, increased tourism, farming, and a vast reduction in habitat have all contributed to a rapid decline in elephant numbers, and Asian elephants are now officially an endangered species.
ASIAN ELEPHANTS ARE Endangered
It is estimated that at the turn of the centuary, Asian elephants numbered approximately 100,000 in Thailand alone (and likely in the millions globally). Currently the worldwide population has decreased to around 30,000. Of these, only 2500-4000 live in Thailand, and most of those live in captivity.
Unfortunately, increases in the human population tend to lead to reductions in the number of living elephants. The main reasons for this are because of poaching, habitat loss, and increased tourism.
Current estimates for 1kg of ivory on the black market in China (the worlds largest market for illegal ivory sales) is around $3000 US Dollars.
ELEPHANTS ARE INTELLIGENT
Due to their high intelligence, it is possible to train elephants to perform a broad array of tasks, from hauling logs to painting. This adaptability and aptitude, coupled with their immense size and strength, meant elephants were naturally seen as ideal work animals. Historically, they have been utilized by logging companies to haul lumber, but widespread deforestation has caused legal logging to officially cease throughout Thailand. Sadly, logging camp elephants were forced by humans to contribute to the destruction of their own habitat, and deforestation is now one of the major threats to elephant survival (in addition to the detrimental effects of habitat loss, deforestation has made poaching easier, and elephants are now more likely to roam onto farmlands in search of food, leading to disputes with farmers). A small amount of illegal logging persists, and elephants used in such camps are often mistreated with knives and spears, and given amphetamines in order to force them to work as hard as possible over abusively long hours.
In ancient Thailand, elephants commonly played a fundamental role in the military, being used as both transport and weapon. Duels and battles were often fought from the back of an elephant, but military use of the animals was eventually made obsolete by the increased use of firearms.
MISTREATMENT OF ELEPHANTS IN THAILAND
Nowadays, elephants primarily work in the tourism and entertainment sectors. Unfortunately, very few companies treat their elephants ethically, or with the respect they deserve, instead viewing them simply as a profitable business asset. Young elephants are sometimes poached from the wild to be sold and used as novelties in hotels, or trained to perform for tourists. This practice is incredibly damaging to the population of Thai elephants, as the mother (and sometimes other females, such as the chosen ‘foster mother’) is often killed during the poaching process, and this separation greatly endangers the life and long-term health of the infant. Some estimate that as many as 70% of baby elephants currently used in tourism may have been poached from their natural habitat.
Work includes tourist ridding, logging, and circus activities.
Sometimes they are made to carry people for up to 5 hours. Being forced to work whislt in the head of Thailand slowly wears the elephants down as elephants need to cool down and be allowed to eat more then they are provided. They are hurt at these camps guides use hooks to force them to carry tourists which they hit the elephants with, causes bleeding.
THESE TYPES OF STRENOUS LIFESTYLES SHORTEN THE ELEPHANT’S LIFE THEREFORE INCREASING THE SPEED AT WHICH THE ELEPHANTS ARE DYING OUT.
WHY NOT TO RIDE AN ELEPHANT
Elephants are not designed to carry weight on their back. They have evolved to support a mass amount of weight suspended below their spine. Elephants spines are not like horses for instance. Examination of the skeleton shows instead of smooth, round spinal disks, elephants have sharp bony protrusions that extend upwards from their spine. These bony protrusions and the tissue protecting them are vulnerable to weight and pressure coming from above.
THIS IS WHY RIDING CAUSES SERIOUS LONG TERM HARM. In order for an elephant to be ridden, it needs to be put thru a ritual called Phajaan.
Only humans can ensure the elephants future
Elephants born in EJS will never have to go thru the ritual. The elephants that are with us in the sanctuary will stay with us for the rest of their lives.
WHAT WE ARE DOING TO HELP
AT ELEPHANT JUNGLE SANCTUARY WE ARE GIVING THEM A PLACE TO LIVE FREE FROM DANGER OR HARM.
WE KEEP OUR ELEPHANTS TOGETHER AS A FAMILY. WE DON’T TORTURE OUR ELEPHANTS IN ORDER TO TRAIN THEM BECAUSE TO US ELEPHANTS ARE PART OF THE FAMILY, SO WE DO NOT ALLOW ANY TOURIST TO RIDE THEM.
WE WANT PEOPLE REALISE THAT THESE LOVELY CREATURES SHOULD BE TREATED WITH LOVE AND CARE INSTEAD OF ABUSING THEM.
THE CHOICE IS UP TO PEOPLE
IT IS OUR DEMAND FOR ELEPHANT RIDES THAT LEADS TO MORE BABY ELEPHANT GETTING CAPTURED FROM THEIR MOTHERS, TORTURED AND SOLD OFF TO ENTERTAIN US.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
1) Visiting and Volunteering – The money we get from people visiting and volunteering is used to keep the elephants happy and living a lifestyle without harm.
2) HELP US spread the message of elephant treatment in Thailand and why you should never ride an elephant.
3) DONATE towards one of our causes – Donations will go towards adopting more elephants, elephant daily needs and improvements to the Sanctuary.