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Honoured and praised above all animals in the past, Thai elephants had to sacrifice their lives at war, and endure hardship in transportation and logging. If only the forests were still green, and enough land existed for them to wander around and breed according to their instincts. At the present time however, forests have been depleted, and those bodies which are bigger than those of other animals have become an obstacle to a quality life, requiring diminishing resources for which elephants must fight with people. Animals that were once praised are now merely hunted for their tusks. The situation of Thai elephants today should concern us very much. Statistics showing decreasing numbers of elephants lead scientists to believe that, barring a resolution to this problem, within 50 years Thai elephants will exist only in history books.
Currently in Thailand domesticated elephants are covered by the Draught Animal Act, under the Ministry of the Interior, which puts elephants in the same category as cows, buffaloes, horse, donkeys and mules. As most domenstic elephants are in the care of private individuals, proper administration of the laws is difficult, and the number of domestic elephants is decreasing rapildy from a variety of pressures (e.g. the reduction of forest space, killing for ivory, testicales, babies etc).
The forest is no longer an inviolate piece of land that can bear the population of wild elephants at a sufficient level to maintain their species.”
The forest is no longer an inviolate piece of land that can bear the population of wild elephants at a sufficient level to maintain their species. Wild elephants in Thailand are scattered in national parks around the country. Most of the conservation areas where the wild elephants live are just small isloated pieces, and agricultural areas or towns surround these forests, a major obstruction to natural breeding. Elephants in each forest are caught on "green islands" and cannot walk back and forth between these areas. Thus, inbreeding among closed relaties is inevitable, which leads to an inferior population and causes genetic diseases leading, ultimately, to extinction.
Another problem widely perceved by the public is the fact that many NGO's (non-givernmental organizations) are working for elephants, which should help elephants to solve its elephant problems. Because of many limitations and a lack of cooperation between government and the private sector, however, the process of elephant conservation is not as effective as it should be.
Many problems face Thai elephants at the present time, and there is little time left to procrastinate. If we want to hear the soft footsteps of Thai elephants into the next century and beyond, cooperation on all fronts is necessary from this day forward.