BANGKOK – A group of Elephant camp operators in Thailand have held a conference to defend themselves against accusations made by foreign media affecting their business.
They said they are set to file legal charges to protect their reputations and the elephants.
Elephant camp operators in Thailand are responding a disturbing article, recently published by the New Zealand Herald.
The headline read “Disturbing Photos Reveal Elephant Torture as Tourists Urged to Boycott Riding Thai Animals”.
The article alleges cruel treatment of elephants in the Thai elephant tourism sector, showing pictures of scars from physical abuse on the elephant’s.
The operators said the published article has resulted in negative effects and widespread criticism. They stressed that the elephant camp business should not be distorted by foreign media.
Says that foreign media was trying to sabotage the Thai tourism industry through their lack of understanding of elephant camps and mahout practices in Thailand.
Many Argue that Elephants should be Wild and Free
At present, 3,783 Asian elephants are estimated to live in captivity in Thailand alone—and the majority of them work in the tourism sector.
Because it is now illegal to trap and traffic wild elephants in Thailand, some trekking camps breed elephants in captivity to maintain their populations.
Many would argue that every elephant should be wild and free. But even if you turned every elephant currently in captivity loose, there would be nowhere safe for all of them to go.
Their natural habitats have been mostly destroyed; some captive elephants carry diseases that could harm wild populations; and besides, not all elephants get along—even in the jungle.
Quarrels between three-ton beasts can be fatal. So it’s a sad reality that thousands of elephants live in captivity.
Furthermore, a single elephant consumes 550 pounds of food a day and costs around $18,000 a year to support.
Something has to pay their way and that something, for now anyway, is still tourism.