Posted on 10/06/2008

Photo taken on January  1, 2000

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Mahout and his elephant called Lamduan

Mahout and his elephant called Lamduan
Most of the elephant keepers (mahouts) in Thailand are having big problems to earn enough for their livelihood and to support the elephant. The elephant handlers often bring domesticated animals into cities seeking work. The locations can spell danger: broken sidewalks, holes in roads and fast-moving traffic can often result in accidents. And elephants aren't nocturnal animals, so the mahouts keep them awake with drugs. Most tourist aren't aware that this is cruelty to these animals. Just see the attractions. It is up to the government to find a solution for keeping the Thai tradition without forcing the mahouts to abuse their elephants as tourist attractions.
Nevertheless, there is a strong bond between Thai people and elephants. Elephants hold a revered place in society because of their symbolic importance to monarchs, religion, and to the nation as a whole.
The Asian mahouts suffer from very high losses, because of the prohibition of ivory trade. Asian people don't kill their elephants to cut the tusks, but its an essential procedure to regularly cut the teeth. Now, ivory trade is banned all over the world, and the Asian mahouts suffer under bad, criminal image of the black African ivory business.