Large trees fall on captive elephants in Thailand: two dead, three injured

Dead elephant under trees in Thailand, photo: Facebook post Save Elephant Foundation
Dead elephant under trees in Thailand, photo: Facebook post Save Elephant Foundation

Two captive elephants were killed on Wednesday during a storm in the Chiang Mai Province in Thailand, the Save Elephant Foundation shared in a Facebook post.

During the storm, large trees fell on top of the 40-year-old elephant Mae Mun and her baby Plai Bank, who was just three and a half years old. Both both mother and baby died instantly, the Facebook post said.

Three other elephants in the same area were injured. “Plaijo was seriously injured. Mae Kham Chan, age 45, and Phang Pim Thong, both female elephants, were also injured,” the post continued.

The animals were tied up, which is the case with many captive elephants. In photos uploaded to Facebook by the founder of Save Elephant Foundation, Sangdeaun Lek Chailert, the lifeless elephants are seen with chains around their feet and broken tree branches on them.

“Sadly, these elephants are not in a sanctuary. They are in a project we have been supporting with funds to feed their elephants and to employ mahouts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” the organization said in a reaction.

The veterinary team of the Save Elephant Foundation were at the camp providing care to the injured elephants.

Elephants in captivity
In Thailand, captive elephants outnumber wild endangered elephants. Used in the past for labour in the logging industry or as transport, elephants have been exploited for their strength and intelligence for decades.

Currently, captive elephants in Thailand are kept in elephant camps, where they are used for elephant rides, other activities, or purely for observation.

Save Elephant Foundation is a Thai non-profit organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephant population.

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