Today, in honour of World Elephant Day ~ August 12th, I watched a screening of When Elephants Were Young. A documentary that features a Thai family and their captive elephant, Nong Nai. I felt it was an appropriate and responsible film showing the reality of life in Thailand for both the elephants and the people.
Elephants popularity is also their misfortune.
Asian elephants are endangered, and currently one-third of them live in captivity. There are many elephant tourist camps in Thailand as tourism is currently the only legal form of elephant work. It is also still legal to sell and buy domestic elephants and/or their parts in Thailand.
Ironically, there are no such things as "domesticated elephants", only wild elephants in captivity.
Although it is illegal to capture wild elephants, lack of resources enforcing this issue allow for 50 – 100 wild elephants smuggled into the tourism industry each year. It is also against the law to street beg, but many families continue as it is their only means of trying to earn money.
Roxi Books aim to raise awareness of animal welfare situations around the world. Check out Roxi the Rescue Dog Helps the Elephants for an age-appropriate story about elephants used for riding and performing.