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Asian elephants face brutal conditions

In Asia many elephants are live in terrible, inhumane conditions, and treated like possessions, even though they are now endangered species.

Entertainment & Tourism: Many baby elephants are captured in the wild and used for the tourism/entertainment industry and are subjected to brutal tactics called “Crushing” in order to be “trained” Crushing “Wild baby elephants are separated from their families, and subjected to a brutal practice, where they are tied up, confined, beaten and tortured to break their spirits” (elephantfamily.org)

“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/crushing' process, and as many as five others are killed during the capture” (elephantfamily.org)

“It is estimated that anywhere between 50-100 calves and young females are being traded across the Thai-Myanmar (Burma) border each year, to supply tourist camps” (elephantfamily.org)

Logging: ​ In Thailand, logging - the razing of the forest - has been banned since 1989. However, a jump in wood prices has made the illegal logging trade popular and in fact 1,000-2,000 elephants are used for illegal logging. These elephants are poorly cared for where they live.

Land Mines: Human conflict and war also poses a serious threat to animals (wildlife and livestock), including elephants. In particular anti-personnel landmines, anti-tank mines and cluster munitions have been maiming and killing African and Asian elephants. While exact data regarding the number of global elephant casualties due to these victim-activated weapons is not available the Sir Lankan government reports that twenty Asian elephants are killed by mines every year. (University of Peradeniya).

In Rwanda several mountain gorillas have been killed by mines. (JMU) Similarly, in Mozambique they have reported that more than a 100 elephants have been killed by landmines during their bloody civil war. (Source is Scott Nathanson the State Disarmament Campaign Organizer for Mozambique)

And unfortunately according to the Landmine Monitor, published by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, there are more than 75 million landmines in the ground worldwide.

Street Begging: “More and more elephants can be found with their destitute mahouts begging for money in the streets of large Asian cities like Bangkok. These elephants suffer respiratory infections, damage property, and get hit by cars.” (American Museum of Natural History)

Loss of Habitat: ​ Roads, dams, plantations, railroads and mines interfere with the migration of elephant herds, which also fragments elephant populations into small, isolated groups. (www.elephantfamily.org)

Electrocution by power wire: ​ “Up to 170 Asian elephants have been electrocuted to death in the last 10 years by low hanging power wires. In some circumstances, other elephant members have come to the rescue and are electrocuted themselves. The power companies continue to fly below the radar and fail to maintain the power cables” (www.elephantfamily.org)

palm oil conflict

 More and more palm oil plantations are being built in Asia as palm oil trees can only grow in tropical areas.

Forests are being burned to pave way for these plantations and animals are being killed in these fires, including elephants, orangutans, tigers and rhinoceros.

So the palm trees are not eaten or destroyed by elephants, some plantation owners have poisoned elephants with fertilizer and organophosphate pesticides – which is a brutal death.

“The US is the second largest importer of Palm Oil and in fact, palm oil imports into the US have jumped 485% in the last decade.” (www.ran.org). ​

Products that may contain palm oil include cosmetics, french fries and chocolate, lipstick, peanut butter, ice cream, and chips and shampoo.

“Even though there is currently over 7 million acres of land in Borneo and Sumatra that has already been cleared, 4.9 million acres of rainforest are destroyed every year to make room for more palm oil plantations. By using the undisturbed rainforest, the corporations gain the added income from the timber.” (AsianElephantSupport.org)

“Nearly 90% percent of palm oil is grown in the tropical countries of Indonesia and Malaysia, where palm oil plantations under active cultivation cover 16 million acres, an area similar in size to West Virginia.” (www.ran.org)

“The Indonesian government has announced plans to convert approximately 44 million more acres of rainforests, an area the size of Missouri, into palm oil plantations by 2020.

The UN’s Environment Program (UNEP) indicates, “98% of Indonesia’s forest may be destroyed by 2022, the lowland forest much sooner.” (www.ran.org)

Asian Elephants in Crisis

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