‘Chang’ meaning Elephant is Thailand’s National Symbol.

Domesticated to be used in warfare, farming, logging and now most commonly tourism. The Asian Elephant has been revered in Thailand for many centuries and celebrated for its incredible strength, durability, and longevity.

Approximately 100,000 Elephants were living in the wilds of Thailand roughly 100 years ago.

Now, there are  between 3 to 5,000 living in the wild and over 4,000 registered captive elephants in Thailand that suffer everyday in the tourism/entertainment industry being exploited and abused.

The Need - Old Bull Elephant

Logging was banned in Thailand in1989, after excessive flooding precipitated by mass deforestation. The ban meant thousands of elephants and the people who worked with them had no work – practically overnight the need for logging elephants diminished and there was no way to make an income. Some turned to illegal logging, forcing elephants to work faster and longer by spiking their food with amphetamines, while many elephants and their mahouts were forced to flee to the cities to beg or join tourist camps in search of much needed income.
Street Begging a very dangerous activity – were elephants are subjected to unimaginable cruelty, drugged and involved in regular road accidents. The elephants do not receive adequate nutrition during the work day begging tourists and passerby to pay to feed them, often forced to scavenge on discarded food and plants contaminated by car fumes, eventually becoming malnourished and ill.
Today a vast majority of Thailand’s Captive Elephants are spread out in Tourism Camps brutally forced to give rides, performing shows or used as photo props for weddings and ceremonies. Calves are often separated from their mothers long before they are of weaning age to be used as attractions in camps, it’s becoming more common to see calves with bone diseases and suffering from malnourished. Deprived of natural instincts, unable to express natural behavior and living in high stress situations.

 

The Need Collage

Captive Elephants in Thailand are classified under the same legislation as cattle, an outdated legislation which afford these working elephants – no protection, unlike their wild herds.

Little do the tourists know that their $$$ are funding the continued exploitation and ultimately the suffering of these beautiful and majestic creatures by riding them and paying to see them perform.
Fortunately, the need for change has been recognized and many places have stopped riding. Now to work towards a brighter, sustainable future where elephants no longer have to be exploited and the needs of both the elephants and the people that work with them, can be met.

If you want to see elephants while in Thailand in an Ethical and Responsible manner then Join our Volunteer Program or Visit Us on a short stay, experience living the Thai way in our unique traditional Thai style rooms (a mattress and mosquito net on the floor) and be rewarded by the sight of these beautiful creatures living a more natural life. Learn about elephants from a different perspective and help us bring an end to the abuse and exploitation of these majestic creatures.

BEES works to raise awareness and to join many others in the hope to bring an end to the suffering and exploitation of these majestic beings.