Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Uncertain Future For Elephants Of Thailand

Date:
July 29, 2008
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
Worries over the future of Thailand' s famous elephants have emerged following an investigation by a University of Manchester team.

Elephants with their Mahouts.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Manchester

Worries over the future of Thailand' s famous elephants have emerged following an investigation by a University of Manchester team.

Related Articles


Professor Rosaleen Duffy and Dr Lorraine Moore from the University' s School of Social Sciences say many problems have endured since the ending of the logging trade which employed virtually all Thai elephants in 1989.

The ban made 2,000 animals and their Mahouts - or trainers - unemployed overnight, forcing many onto the streets to beg for cash.

Though transferring to the tourism trade has improved working conditions for many elephants, their future remains under a cloud argues Professor Duffy.

"Despite the move into tourism, we have found evidence that street walking persists in some areas and that can be traumatic for the animals and a nuisance for humans," she said.

"And the almost total reliance on the tourist trade makes the Thai elephants especially vulnerable to a downturn in the market.

"If that happens more are forced onto the streets or into inappropriate activities in towns.

"The December 2004 tsunami had - at least to some extent - that effect. The rising oil prises of today are bound to affect air travel and hence tourism as well.

"The elephants are very important in Thai culture, and mahouts generally only beg on the streets with their elephants as an absolute last resort.

"It's a sad outcome for these once proud animals and their trainers."

A powerful symbol of the problem is provided by a video of a baby elephant used to attract people to a Flintstone themed bar in the Phuket resort - taken by Professor Duffy.

The animal is made to stand outside the bar each night to attract customers. "This a very questionable practice as at night baby elephants will be scared by the lights," she said.

"They shouldn't be forced to stand on concrete for long periods of time as it will damage their feet and be extremely painful according to Dr Moore. "I also witnessed other poor treatment: for example elephants trained to stand on their heads during a show. "This is bad practice as the elephant's head is not designed to take its body weight in this posture.

"In addition, a minority of the elephant camps do not provide proper working hours or conditions for their animals."

However, the picture is not all bad: mistreatment of elephants was far more prevalent in the logging industry than in tourism.

According to Professor Duffy and Dr Moore, many of the elephant camps in Thailand treat their animals well.

And the 2000 elephants employed in today' s Thai tourism industry may be used to add the declining elephant gene pool of 1000 wild elephants.

A scheme which trains captive elephants to survive in the wild is undertaken at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC).

TECC is also experimenting with alternative schemes to generate income from elephants including elephant dung paper and elephant dung fertiliser.

A TECC project with University of Chiang Mai has found that when autistic children are allowed to interact with the elephants their condition improves.

Mae Sa elephant camp has an elephant nursery which is engaged in artificial insemination.

The Manchester team hope to repeat their research in Botswana later in the year and aim to publish advice for tourist companies and guide books working in both countries. Some southern African countries are starting to train African elephants for elephant back safaris.

Professor Duffy added: " We hope this project will provide the impetus for travel companies and travel guide authors to provide information to their clients and readers on how and where to report cruelty to elephants."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Manchester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "Uncertain Future For Elephants Of Thailand." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080725234310.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2008, July 29). Uncertain Future For Elephants Of Thailand. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080725234310.htm
University of Manchester. "Uncertain Future For Elephants Of Thailand." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080725234310.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins