What Is an Elephant Crush Box? An Animal Activist Explains

Asian elephants in Thailand are in peril. There are currently between 3,000 and 4,000 of these beautiful creatures remaining, compared to around 100,000 in the 1850s. Meanwhile, their global population is estimated to be under 30,000, officially making them an endangered species under the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species.

Of the Asian elephants living in Thailand, about half are domesticated and the rest are wild, living in national parks and reserves.

There are several reasons for the demise of these magnificent animals – and chief among them is habitat loss and degradation, as humans encroach on their land. Poaching and trophy hunting also has a very real impact on elephant populations

Lek Chailert: Elephant Activist Extraordinaire

Lek Chailert is an award-winning conservationist who has devoted her life to protecting the Asian elephant, Thailand’s national symbol. 

As a teenager, she was volunteering with elephants in her native Thailand, when she heard screaming in a nearby creek. Chailert witnessed elephants being forced to drag logs. If the animals resisted, they were threatened with knives to their head and skin to make them keep working.

She came close to one of these elephants, and the creature looked at her straight in the eyes. “It made me so sad, emotional and angry,” Chailert told Care2. “It hurt my heart so badly.” Those screams kept her awake at night.

Later Chailert worked as a guide, and it broke her heart to see firsthand how the tourism industry took advantage of elephants. In fact, riding elephants became the number one tourist attraction in Thailand. As a result, she founded the Elephant Nature Park, a rescue and rehabilitation center in northern Thailand, in 1995. 

What Is a Crush Box?

elephant-crush-box

Photo Credit: YouTube

Chailert described a particularly cruel “tool” designed to break the spirit of young elephants. The elephant crush box is a cage constructed of logs. She explained:

The crush box is intended to train and tame the elephant, so that they can be used for elephant rides and for dancing and performing.

But the elephant is born to be wild, and elephants stay together as a herd. To take a baby elephant away from its family is not easy, so these cruel people need a crush box to force the separation of the baby from its mother.

Education is the Answer

In addition to the crush box, Chailert deplores the popularity of taking selfies with elephants. For her the solution to the negative impacts of elephant tourism lies in education, and she’s dedicated to meeting with as many people as possible to raise awareness about the plight of elephants.

Chailert has been at the forefront of raising international awareness about the dire condition of elephants and other animals, and she has received several awards for her work — notably when she was honored in Washington, D.C., in 2010 as one of six Women Heroes of Global Conservation.

Trunks Up New York Benefit

To continue this important work, Chailert has created Save Elephant Foundation, which will hold the second annual Trunks Up New York Benefit for Elephant Nature Park on April 9. 

She would be delighted to meet Care2 members there! Lek Chailert is a truly inspirational woman with her passionate dedication to conservation.

Photo Credit: Save Elephant Foundation

88 comments

La'neSa'an M

I was so moved by this article I searched out more information on the crush box. It is truly horrorific. I have made a donation to Save Elephant Foundation. Thank you Judy M for posting this.

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David C
David C24 days ago

another inhumanity created by humanity.....thankfully there are people trying to help,

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Richard M
Richard M24 days ago

I commend Lek Chailert for her work to help the elephants. Elephants should be protected.

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Toni W
Toni W24 days ago

TYFS

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Toni W
Toni W24 days ago

TYFS

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HEIKKI R
HEIKKI R25 days ago

thank you

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Shirley S
Shirley S26 days ago

Petition signed

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La'neSa'an M

What a blessing Lek Chailert is to the elephants, Nature and humanity. May her work grow and prosper. May the healing be carried on.
Thank you. Signed.

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Roxana Saez
Roxana Saez26 days ago

TYFS

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Sheila D
Sheila D26 days ago

Thank you for sharing. Petition signed.

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