How did this happen?
Before, Thailand was about 90% covered in forest. Logging and agriculture reduced forest cover to about 30% percent by 2015. This loss of habitat has resulted in plummeting numbers of this beautiful animal and has placed them on the endangered species list.
But that is just the beginning...
Elephants were also the ones hauling the heavy logs away from their own habitats, when logging was still legal in Thailand.
Part 2: So how does one get an elephant to work or follow commands?
Elephant crushing, was the usual method by which wild elephants were tamed for domestication. The "crush" method involves placing an elephant in a cage, tied with ropes to keep the elephant from moving.
This method is supposed to crush the elephant's spirit.
National Geographic reported on the use of nails and sticks stabbed into the ears and feet of an elephant, during it's "crush".
Other reports cite the use of beatings with sticks, chains or bullhooks, sleep-deprivation, hunger, and thirst to "crush" the elephant and make them submissive to their owners.
Part 3: Logging days are over
Although logging is now illegal in Thailand, the elephants are still here! Now domesticated, they are ridden on by tourists and forced to perform shows to cover the costs of their existence, while also making a buck for their owners.
Elephants that can't find 'work', end up on the city streets, with their owners, begging for money and food.
They have been domesticated and cannot return to the wild.
Lek takes in elephants from the streets, rescues elephants from tourist industries, and cares for elephants that previously worked in the logging industry.
Elephant Nature Park was founded by Lek, a villager from a small hill tribe, in Chiang Mai Thailand.
Happy Trunks currently sponsors 12 elephants at the Elephant Nature Park!
Our sponsorships help to provide the best food, medical care and shelter for these elephants.
We strive that, within 2018, we will sponsor all 43 elephants at the Elephant Nature Park!
Each purchase helps get us closer to the goal of sponsoring all 43 elephants at the Elephant Nature Park.