The Plight Of The Thai Elephant

The elephant has been a cultural icon in Thailand all through history. This magnificent animal is considered to be a symbol of fortune and peace, with a lot of individuals believing the superstition that passing underneath it’s physique will bring good luck. In a lot of old Temples, the image of this outstanding mammal can be located in abundance and it was even engraved on old coins. Elephants have been also employed by the Thai men and women in their fight against the Burmese, in an astonishing ally. A white elephant appears on the flag of the Royal Thai Navy, as a symbol of royalty and power, nevertheless, they themselves have been not used in warfare. In the late 17th century a Thai King had as many as 20,000 war elephants trained for battle- an astonishing notion.

White Elephants are really rare and due to this have grow to be the house of the reigning monarch. It was believed that a King who had a lot of wholesome white elephants would be profitable, as his Kingdom would flourish and his reign would be long. However, if his white elephants died this was believed to be a quite negative omen with regards to the King and his KIngdom. The scriptures have associated the white elephant with the birth of Buddha, as his mother was stated to have dreamed of a white elephant presenting her with a lotus flower, a symbol of wisdom and purity, on the eve of giving birth. They are therefore regarded as getting sacred and are protected from labour.

White elephants had been sometimes provided by the monarch to courtiers, as a mark of especial favour along with the proper quantity of land to support the elephant’s needs. This was considered the highest reward. However, a monarch could also give a white elephant to punish a person who had fallen out of favour with him in some way. The sacred animal would be given to this individual without having any land. White elephants can not be refused and so had to be accepted. The new owner would be put out of pocket entirely, as he had to feed the animal at his personal expense. The term “white elephant” derived from this punishment, meaning one thing provided that is not wanted.

When I travelled to Thailand last year I had the chance to go to an elephant hospital. When I arrived it was clear to see how valued these animals had been by the care and attention each and every single patient received. The Mahouts worked really hard to make the elephants comfortable and to treat their numerous illnesses, as best they could. Every single Mahout would kind a unique bond with a specific elephant, gaining its trust and increasing the animals feeling of security.

There were elephants with a complete array of problems. A lot of had been Burmese land mine victims discovered injured on the Thai/ Burmese border, other folks had skin infections or infections of the tusks. A single mother was at the hospital with her baby. She could not create adequate milk and her little one had been slowly starving. It was upsetting to see bones protruding from such a miniature animal. The Mahout in charge of the mother and child spent every single waking moment by their side, encouraging the adult to eat and hand feeding the baby milk out of a bottle. They seemed to be doing effectively and the young 1 was not afraid to be a tiny bit cheeky and reverse his backside by means of the poles of their enclosure, to use our legs as scratching posts.
I was amazed to discover that elephants had been constantly admitted, suffering from depression, anxiety or anorexia. Extremely, they have feelings and awareness similar to human beings.

To aid fund the hospital and to preserve the elephants active, a show would be put on a number of occasions a day by animals that I think had been wholesome and just resided at the hospital. Elephants, displayed their intelligence by performing tasks such as “logging”, which entails precise lining up and stacking of logs. Elephants utilized to be place to function in the forests carrying out this job on a far larger, brutal scale, however, it was banned in 1989. A five minute period was taken to give the audience an insight into why elephants were used for such a chore but was kept concise to save the animals from tough labour. Their accuracy was astonishing and they genuinely worked as a team.

My private highlight of the show was watching the elephants turn out to be artists, which confirmed in my thoughts the intellect of these remarkable animals. I could not believe it as I stood watching the elephants paint beautiful flowers, human hunters with javelins and even photos of their personal species.

When I initial decided to watch the show, I felt a small uncomfortable, as I did not want to witness or encourage maltreatment in any way. Nonetheless, there was completely no abuse to see, the show was quick and each elephant was guided by his own private Mahout who he had come to trust. I realised that although this was a tourist attraction its crucial objective was to maintain the hospital functioning. The Mahouts wanted to preserve the high standard of care they supplied and exactly where achievable enhance it. The selling of t-shirts additional emphasised the hospital’s want to aid fund their trigger, with all cash from purchases getting put back into the project. The elephants had been rewarded with a long bath in the complexes large water hole twice a day and were in quite good situation.

Unfortunately, even even though the elephant is widely respected and loved in Thailand there are several issues with regards to the therapy of these animals today. The old method of making use of elephants for “logging” was banned in 1989, however, numerous are still utilised for illegal “logging” near or more than the Burmese border. Sometimes elephants are given drugs to ensure they are in a position to operate for very extended hours and can be malnourished and dehydrated. A substantial quantity of these animals are privately owned and are frequently sold on. Transferring amongst locations and owners often causes severe distress. The keepers commonly have no emotional connection or ties to the elephant they personal, tend to mistreat them and have no manage over them when the animal becomes enraged.

A male can go through a period referred to as the “musth period”, which is triggered by a surge in reproductive hormones causing serious aggression. It can final for months in some males and can be extremely dangerous. Isolation in a spot with enough food and water is essential, as well as permitting time for the elephant to rest and not make it work so tough. If the owner does not know how to treat his animal effectively the outcomes can be tragic.

Several animals are typically cruelly trained to be street entertainers or to operate in circuses. Animals are usually made to stand on their two front feet in order to entertain tourists, which can lead to extreme bone problems as they get older. Some owners location tight iron clamps around every single of the elephants feet and tie them up on brief metal chains for extended hours of the day. Getting so restricted can result in neurotic problems and a lot of elephants invest their days weaving their heads from side to side, providing the impression that they are dancing continuously. Animals are usually brought to main cities like Bangkok to beg. The continuous noise and touch they expertise can lead to substantial distress and anxiety.

The Thai Animal Guardians Association (AGA), is working hard to combat many of these difficulties. They are attempting to set up a National Committee and push new regulations on the protection of elephants. Wild elephants are listed as Protected Animals beneath the Conservation Act 1992. Nevertheless, contemplating the present scenario, they should now be listed as endangered. Unfortunately, domesticated elephants are regarded to be commercial animals under the Beast of Burden Act 1939 and the owner has the appropriate to trade and use the animal at will. It proves very tough to break such traditions and laws. We have to get in touch with upon tourists to try not to encourage practices they can see are deliberately cruel.