Next Article in Journal
Selection Response in a Divergent Selection Experiment for Birth Weight Variability in Mice Compared with a Control Line
Next Article in Special Issue
Behaviour and Welfare Impacts of Releasing Elephants from Overnight Tethers: A Zimbabwean Case Study
Previous Article in Journal
Histological Comparison of Testicular Needle Biopsy and En Bloc Samples in Abattoir Calves
Previous Article in Special Issue
Commonalities in Management and Husbandry Factors Important for Health and Welfare of Captive Elephants in North America and Thailand
 
 
Review

Welfare Assessment and Activities of Captive Elephants in Thailand

1
Center of Elephant and Wildlife Research, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
2
Department of Companion Animals and Wildlife Clinics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
3
Center for Species Survival, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(6), 919; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10060919
Received: 21 March 2020 / Revised: 11 May 2020 / Accepted: 19 May 2020 / Published: 26 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Captive Elephant Welfare and Behaviour)
In Thailand, captive elephants are used in tourism and involved in a variety of activities, such as feeding, bathing, riding, or just observation. The welfare of these elephants has been a topic of intense debate in recent years, resulting in divergent opinions on what are or are not appropriate uses. This paper summarizes the current status of captive elephants in Thailand, highlighting issues and challenges facing elephant tourism today. We review recent welfare studies conducted to understand how tourist activities affect welfare outcomes and provide recommendations for the future. Captive elephants in Thailand must be managed under human care with good practices aimed at meeting welfare needs to ensure healthy, sustainable populations. Our goal is to provide information to elephant facilities on best practices, and relay findings to governmental and tourist organizations in Thailand to ensure the welfare and sustainability of this important species.
Thailand is the epicenter of elephant tourism and visiting an elephant camp is a popular activity according to the Tourist Authority of Thailand. However, the welfare of these elephants has been questioned by animal activist groups, international tour operators, and the public. Conclusions that the vast majority of captive elephants are abused often are based on anecdotal evidence and not solid science. So, it is difficult to tease apart emotion, opinion, and fact with regard to what practices are good or bad for elephant welfare. The aim of this paper was to: (1) describe the unique status of captive elephants in Thailand and associated regulations, (2) summarize current issues and challenges facing elephant tourism, (3) review studies conducted on welfare of tourist elephants in Thailand, and (4) offer recommendations for how elephants can be properly cared for under captive conditions in tourist camps. We conclude there are many ways to manage these elephants, and that not all tourist activities are bad for welfare. However, it is essential they be managed in a way that meets physical, physiological and psychological needs, and that management decisions are based on objective data. View Full-Text
Keywords: welfare; elephant; management; tourism; Thailand welfare; elephant; management; tourism; Thailand
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Bansiddhi, P.; Brown, J.L.; Thitaram, C. Welfare Assessment and Activities of Captive Elephants in Thailand. Animals 2020, 10, 919. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10060919

AMA Style

Bansiddhi P, Brown JL, Thitaram C. Welfare Assessment and Activities of Captive Elephants in Thailand. Animals. 2020; 10(6):919. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10060919

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bansiddhi, Pakkanut, Janine L. Brown, and Chatchote Thitaram. 2020. "Welfare Assessment and Activities of Captive Elephants in Thailand" Animals 10, no. 6: 919. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10060919

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop