"In Thailand there is an estimated 3,000-4,000 elephants. Around half of this number are domesticated, the remainder living wild in National Parks Reserves. Some 300 are suffer under appalling conditions in Bangkok." While elephants have always been considered an important part of Thailand's culture, this has not been reflected in the treatment of Elephants in the city and countryside.
First and foremost is human encroachment in the domain of the elephant. With a fast growing population Asia does not have the land resources for both humans and the indigenous wildlife populations. There is not a government in the world that will sacrifice it's voters in favour of mere animals.
Secondary is greed. Whilst it is inevitable that much land is set aside for growing human populations there are a number of influential persons seeking huge land areas for personal gain. Illegal logging and such environmentally detrimental pursuits lead to a reduction in grazing or browsing land for the animals.
Thirdly is poaching for ivory, skin or aphrodisiacs which the elephant is said to possess.
Fourthly: Sport. Unbelievably there are such deluded souls amongst us that actually think the killing a defenseless animal is sport. Wealthy patron's of these games are willing to travel and pay handsomely for the sheer pleasure of "bagging" an elephant."(elephant nature park)
The Elephant Nature Park is a genuine sanctuary which saves elephants from situations like these. The elephants are treated with love & respect and are never forced to perform tricks and shows. They are finally at home in the reserve where they have created a strong bond with the elephants around them, their loving mahouts, and those visiting.
We believe it's important that the "lonely Planet" recognizes the Elephant's dire plight and properly advocates the suitable choice for all readers. We hope to remove all traces of elephant trekking/tours and instead advocate to readers to visit places such as the elephant nature park
Education video about the situation! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0x3p7DjPMM (Diogo Kyrillos Documentario Tailandia Globo Reporter)