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Turesson, Veronica, 2014. On the back of an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) – the backside of the elephant tourism with focus on welfare. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health

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Abstract

Thailand had well over 26 million international visitors in 2013 and the demand after elephant-related activities are on many people's to do list when visiting Thailand.

The population of the Asian elephant in Thailand today consists of roughly 6000 individuals and about 3000 of these are privately owned and held in captivity. Almost all of the captive elephants are used for tourism purposes but many of the owners lack the resources needed to provide sufficiently for these large animals. This leads to that the elephants may suffer from medical problems, injuries, malnutrition and develop stereotypic behaviors. Thus the welfare of these captive elephants can be seriously questioned.

The Asian elephant is listed as endangered by the IUCN and even though it's illegal to harvest elephants from the wild, scientists estimates that 150 – 200 elephant calves are taken each year. This affects the wild population since for every elephant calf that's taken an average of four grown elephants are killed in the process. After being captured the calves undergo a breaking process called Phajaan. This process includes restraining the animal and then starvation and heavily abuse until the elephant becomes apathetic. This is known as “breaking the elephant's spirit”. For most elephants the beating continues every day for the rest of their life so tourists can ride, cuddle and feed them – all for this “unique wildlife experience”.

The laws concerning elephants in Thailand are few and those existing are not up to date. Therefore an amendment is crucial for the elephant's future welfare. Also education of both tourists and mahouts are important if we are to improve the elephant's welfare. The best solution for tourists is to see elephants in natural preserves than to go elephant back-riding, watch elephant shows or support street elephants, because there their needs can be better fulfilled.

Main title:On the back of an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) – the backside of the elephant tourism with focus on welfare
Authors:Turesson, Veronica
Supervisor:Andersson, Maria
Examiner:Jung, Jens
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:587
Year of Publication:2014
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:asian elephant, elephant, welfare, thailand, animal friendly tourism
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-3989
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-3989
Subjects:Animal husbandry
Language:English
Deposited On:13 Nov 2014 11:02
Metadata Last Modified:13 Nov 2014 11:02

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