Life After the Tourist Trade for Thailand’s Elephants

Life After the Tourist Trade for Thailand’s Elephants

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has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.

With the corona crisis, tourism revenues have plummeted, and those who make a living from ’ tourism appeal are struggling even to cover their costs.

A single elephant needs up to 250 kilograms (551 pounds) of food a day, costing around €25 ($29.50).

That’s where Lek Chailert steps in. She’s buying up elephants and rehousing them at the Elephant Nature Park reserve in Chiang Mai.

To provide and care for them properly, she founded the Save Elephant Foundation.

An elephant usually sells for around 2 million baht — about €54,000, or $64,000 — with young animals fetching the highest prices.

But since their income from tourism has dried up, plenty of owners are ready to sell their animals for less.

Chailert paid just 7 million baht for seven elephants from a riding center in Chang Puak.

The Elephant Nature Park now has 91 elephants, which live alongside horses, buffalo, dogs and cats, and are cared for by a human staff of 200.

Sadly, it isn’t possible to simply release these magnificent beasts into the wild because their natural habitat has long since been destroyed.

This article was first published by Ecowatch on 13 August 2020.


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Anwar Qureshi
Anwar Qureshi

I find your blog very interesting and full of knowledge. All the issues have been raised very well and hopefully the governments will wake up.
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