Recent video has captured the dreadful treatment of captured endangered Asian elephants as a result of cross-border capture and trafficking in the animals. The Ecologist Film Unit in association with Earth Focus/Link TV and Elephant Family shows the inhumane practices involved in capturing the baby pachyderms, often by killing their mothers and others of the herd, and the brutal “breaking in” of baby elephants before they are sold into animal slavery:
Going on an elephant ride is a key part of many vacationers’ trips to Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Doubtless few realize the cruel treatment involved in capturing and “training” these intelligent creatures. The video claims that for every captured calf, five adult elephants are killed while trying to protect their young.
Supply and Demand Endangers a Species
Though elephant hunting is illegal in Thailand, it is widely practiced in neighboring Burma, and an active smuggling has been documented as poor Burmese capture, break and sell the baby elephants for what is, to them, huge sums of money. With so much money involved in poor countries with corrupt officials, it is hardly surprising and profoundly depressing that 90% of Asian elephants have been lost in the past century.
The NGOs trying to halt the cruel capture and treatment of the elephants call for practical steps to at least regulate the trade in elephants to require earlier registration of captive-born calves and a DNA database to ensure that the few remaining wild Asian elephants stay both wild and protected by international efforts to enforce the law.
Image from Video shot by Elephant Family.org via YouTube