Tourism Driving Illegal Elephant Trade in Burma and Thailand

15 August 2012

According to The Guardian, an undercover investigation by a group called the Ecologist Film Unit (EFU) shows that illegal multi-border trade of wild Asian elephants to fuel Thailand's elephant tourism is threatening the animals. The EFU produced a film (below) with Link TV and the non-profit Elephant Family which reveals brutal practices of Burmese traders as they herd female and baby elephants from their homes to Thai tourist camps:

Many of the animals end up being used for trekking, in festivals, as attractions in so-called 'wildlife parks' and for riding at other tourist destinations. Yet countless elephants die in the process, say campaigners, threatening the remaining populations of this endangered species.

Capturing elephants from the wild often involves the slaughter of mothers and other protective family members with automatic weapons. Captured calves are then often subjected to a brutal 'breaking-in' process where they are tied up, confined, starved, beaten and tortured in order to 'break their spirits'. It is estimated that only one in three survive this inhumane 'domestication' process.

For more info on the situation and the campaign, read the entire article.