It is estimated that in 1900 there were 100,000 elephants roaming Thailand, today their numbers have decreased to an estimated 3,000 domestic and a further 2,000 in the wild. In Thailand, elephants have traditionally worked with humans in the logging industry, functioning as the trucks and heavy machinery of the day. In 1989, due to deforestation, devastating floods occurred across the country and as a result, the government officially banned all logging activity. This was a good decision for the remaining forest, but not good news for the elephants who could no longer be a source of income for their owners.
Most of these elephants went to work into the tourism industry, “trekking camps”, circuses and wandering the streets of the big cities begging. This is the new reality for these animals. What most people do not know, is that riding on the back of an elephant in a ‘trekking camp’ is a very heavy burden for this huge animal. Their neck and trunk are very strong, but the back of an elephant is built for a maximum load of 100 kg. The seat only, weighs about 50 kg, plus passengers… but this is not the only problem, sometimes the elephants have to work for 10 hours a day or even more. Some camps are also only providing a very basic diet or too little food for the elephants. For some of them, this is literally leading to exhaustion. So if you read this, please, tell everybody about this, so people will get to know this shocking fact!
Wandering with an elephant in the city and begging for food and money is even worse. First of all they are removed from their natural surroundings. They get poor quality, or too little food. The elephants sleep in the cities under bridges and viaducts and are wandering during the day over the hot asphalt which is very painful for their sensitive feet. This way of living is very dangerous and also very stressful. That is also the reason why the Thai Government does not allow the elephants any longer in the cities. The last few years the police are very strict, and arrest the mahout, if he walks with his elephant in the street. (If you see an elephant in the city, please contact the Bangkok City Police (1555)).
ElephantsWorld was founded in 2008 to function as a ‘retirement home’ for elephants that have been injured enduring their work, or are too old to continue with this type of work. We are a non-profit organization, meaning we are funded exclusively by visitors and donations and every cent we earn goes towards making our elephants lives as pleasant as possible and of course retiring new elephants.
So, when you are in Thailand and you wish to spend time with these magnificent animals, please consider a visit to ElephantsWorld. We are 32 km from the city of Kanchanaburi or 180 km from Bangkok.
The activities you will take part in during your stay help us and our elephants. We would not survive without your help. Enjoy your day with the elephants and leave knowing you have helped, not harmed them.
Already interested in visiting us? Please follow the links below.