Negotiating rights for elephants in the Thai tourism industry

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Photo - Lek Chailert with a baby elephant at the Elephant Nature Park (Credit: Roberta Zouain)

For a long time Asian elephants have been a national symbol in Thailand, but in the past two decades they’ve also become a star feature of the local tourist scene. Dozens of elephant camps have sprung up around the country, offering foreigners everything from elephant-back rides, to circus performances, and trunk painting shows. Animal activists have condemned these activities, because elephants must often endure months of brutal beatings before they can be trained to interact safely with tourists. But there are no animal welfare protections covering the country’s estimated 3,500 domesticated elephants, and they’re unable to fend for themselves in the wild after years in captivity.

 

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Tuesday, April 3 2012
Produced By Natalie Muller
Featured in storySangduen "Lek" Chailert - Founder of Elephant Nature Park, Chiang MaiLouise Rogerson - Founder of Elephant Asia Rescue and Survival foundation (EARS)Nick Kontogeorgopoulos - Professor and Director, International Political Economy, University of Puget Sound
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