The Asian Elephants
The Asian elephant has played a very important role in the history and culture of Thailand. People here have captured wild animals for centuries and “tamed” them. They were used in warfare, an means of transportation and to haul logs in the logging industry. In 1850 there were about 100,000 domesticated animals in Thailand, a number that has gone down since then.
According to experts Thailand’s current domesticated population is about 2,700. About 95% of these are in private ownership, with the Thai Elephant Conservation Center‘s 80 animals being Thailand’s only government-owned animals apart from a few in zoos and the King’s ten revered ‘white’ elephants in the Royal Elephant Stable. The conservation centre offers free medical care for all elephants in Thailand.
The wild population in Thailand are very difficult to count given their dense, forested habitat, but most experts would agree there are between 2,000-3,000. Thailand issued a logging ban in 1989 which made many elephants unemployed. Since then many have found employment in the tourist industry. With the spectacular growth of tourism the amount of venues offering entertainment for tourists has grown as well.
This entertainment consisted of shows in which animals showed their skills in hauling and pulling logs. Later on elements such as throwing darts, circus acts and painting were added to these shows. Besides the show these venues offer short elephant rides. Shows and riding have become less popular in the last decade. We avoid these venues as much as possible.
Selection of venues
It is not easy to find suitable venues where they treat the animals well. We offer a limited amount of tours that involve animals anyway.