Elephants have been used by humans to perform a variety of tasks for around 5000 years, but while people have consistently profited, this relationship has not been greatly beneficial to the elephants. Revered throughout Thailand, elephants have greatly influenced Thai culture, myth, and religion, though the deep respect held for the species is unfortunately not often reflected in the treatment of individual elephants. Widespread abuse, poaching, deforestation, increased tourism, farming, and a vast reduction in habitat have all contributed to a rapid decline in elephant numbers, and Asian elephants are now officially an endangered species.


It is estimated that at the turn of the centuary, Asian elephants numbered approximately 100,000 in Thailand alone (and likely in the millions globally). Currently the worldwide population has decreased to around 30,000. Of these, only 2500-4000 live in Thailand, and most of those live in captivity.

Unfortunately, increases in the human population tend to lead to reductions in the number of living elephants. The main reasons for this are because of poaching, habitat loss, and increased tourism.

Current estimates for 1kg of ivory on the black market in China (the worlds largest market for illegal ivory sales) is around $3000 US Dollars.

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