Action Taken to Stop the Illegal Trade in Live Asian Elephants


Action Taken to Stop the Illegal Trade in Live Asian Elephants

Campaigning to stop the illegal live trade in Asian elephants has for the last few years been a major focus for Elephant Family. Young, wild elephants are being illegally captured to supply a lucrative tourism trade in Thailand and once caught, calves are subjected to a horrific domestication process before winding up at elephant camps. For every wild caught calf that makes it alive into a camp, it is estimated that up to two others will die from this 'domestication' process, and as many as five others are killed during the capture.

An Assessment of the Live Elephant Trade in Thailand is a report released by TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network earlier this year. Prepared on behalf of Elephant Family, it provides details of between 79 and 81 wild elephants that were illegally captured in the wild for sale into the tourist industry in Thailand between April 2011 and March 2013. Of 53 cases for which the origin of the elephants is known, 92% were captured in Myanmar. These reports have since been confirmed by Myanmar government, which has pointed out that unrest in their country has been exploited by smugglers.

A Significant Step Forward

At the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Geneva this year, Elephant Family took the next significant step in stopping this horrific practice for good. As a result of our campaign, governments from around the world have agreed that urgent action must be taken to stop this horrific practice. CITES officials will now investigate how countries involved are tackling this issue, requiring them to do more.

This latest progress builds on our success last year, when the issue was first added to the key resolution on “Trade in Elephant Specimens”, which governs international efforts to protect both Asian and African elephants. This had previously focused almost exclusively on the illegal trade in ivory and how it is affecting African elephants, but now Elephant Family has firmly placed the Asian elephant on the agenda.

In conjunction with the Ecologist Film Unit and Link TV, Elephant Family launched an investigation into the brutal baby elephant smuggling practice. You can watch the report here.


written by Elephant Family on 07th October 14