The effect of Covid-19 on the elephant community in Thailand

12 Feb 2021

Thailand has a current elephant population of 5,000. Out of those, 3,000 elephants live in captivity and being used for tourist rides and photoshoots.

These days with the business struck by the Covid-19 outbreak, Some of the elephants are now living safely at a wildlife sanctuary in Chiang Mai. 

The revenue from tourism has fallen as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Many businesses in Thailand who make their living out of the elephant attractions tours fail even to cover their expenses. A single elephant eats up to 250 kilograms (551 pounds) of food every day, costing about 800B. 

It is here that Lek Chailert steps in. She's buying up elephants and rehousing them at the Elephant Nature Park reserve in Chiang Mai. She has founded the Save Elephant Foundation to provide and provide for them.    

Usually, an elephant cost in the market is around 2 million baht, with young elephants are bidding for the highest prices. because of the Coronavirus pandemic, as their tourism revenue has dried up, there are plenty of owners willing to sell their elephants for less.

The Elephant's Nature Park currently has 91 elephants living with other animals like cows, buffalo, cats, and dogs and being cared for by 200 staff members.

Sadly, these fantastic creatures can not be released back to nature because their natural environment has already changed.


A Felix Nuhr feature film

source: DW