History Of Elephants In Asian Culture And Why People Are Eager To Protect Them
There are two types of elephants – the Asian and African elephants. They can differ by the shape of their ears, head, and trunks, where African elephants can weigh up to 6,000kg while an Asian elephant can weigh up to 5,400kg. They eat about 149-169 kilograms of vegetation daily. 80% of an elephant’s day is spent in feeding to sustain their huge built!
Thai Elephant or “Chang Thai” is a subspecies of an Asian elephant and it is Thailand’s national animal. These animals have a long history of relationship with the Thai that goes centuries back. They often say that elephants helped them build the nation they have now, as these animals served as a means of livelihood, transportation, and even a war machine due to its genetic strength and intelligence.
Elephant History in Thailand
History made elephants a cultural symbol of Thailand. In Buddhism, it is believed that a white elephant (also called albino elephant) appeared on Queen Maya of Sakya’s dreams. The dream depicted an elephant circling her and entered into her womb. Only after was she able to conceive and that baby in her womb was Buddha. This is mainly the reason why an elephant is a religious icon of Buddhism, and Thailand as a Buddhist country has adopted the elephant symbol.
Elephants And Religion
Other than being a religious symbol, elephants are also a symbol of liberty in Thailand. Elephant war has been used since the time of Alexander the Great in countries like Thailand, India, and Myanmar. These war elephants were used as a transportation to move from one battle location to the other. The Burmese war which was fought by Burma (now Myanmar) and Thailand also included the use of the elephant. The two kings fought for territory and freedom. They have agreed that if the Thai king would win the war, the country will receive its sovereignty, but if they lose, they will still be a part of Burma, indefinitely. The Thai King won the war with his elephant’s help. Since then, the elephant became a symbol of freedom and new beginnings in the country of Thailand.
Elephant and Logging
Fast forward to the late 1900s, the elephant has been used as a part of the logging industry in Thailand. These animals helped transport the trees down the mountains. When logging was still legal in Thailand, a drop of elephant population started and has never fully recovered up until now. Logging is now illegal in Thailand, dissolving many jobs for the elephants and their Mahouts or an elephant rider/trainer. This forced them to enter into a new type of living, the entertainment world.
Picture Perfect Elephants
Many elephants are seen on social media and news giving back rides to tourists. Some of these animals perform tricks, dance, and even beg for food so they can eat. But these tricks are not enough to sustain an elephant’s consumption that other elephants die of malnutrition and hunger.
This has caused total depletion to their population, from 100,000 to just only 5,000. Because of this, the elephant-entertainment industry has received a lot of backlash from people across the globe. Animal rights activists and non-government organizations seek to stop these inhumane acts. They advocate putting these gentle giants on sanctuaries where they can be preserved, live a healthy life, and be free from physical and emotional tortures from their abusive Mahouts. Mahouts are also aware of this unhealthy treatment to their animals. But some Mahouts said that they cannot afford to feed elephants on a daily basis that is why they cling to operations where they can earn money, both for their families and their elephants.
Saving The Gentle Giants
Petitions have been initiated to stop the elephant riding industry for this causes physical traumas to elephants. The welfare of elephants is taking the center stage in this modern time, very far from the economic stunts of the past decades.
Concern for elephants created an organization called the National Elephant Institute (NEI) which started out from Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang. They closely monitor the national parks and sanctuaries to help protect the remaining elephants in Thailand.
Despite these conservation laws, elephants are still not safe from greedy humans. Elephant tusk is a very in-demand business, killing hundreds of elephants every year. These tusks are sources of ivory, a material that can be used in art and manufacturing. Southeast Asian countries such as Philippines and Malaysia use tusks for daggers and carving religious images like Virgin Mary and Catholic saints.
More in Life Style
Prince Harry Spills The Beans On Sleep Deprivation & Bliss Of Becoming A Father
The wait is finally over, and the newest royal has marked his arrival in the world! Prince Harry has officially been...May 7, 2019
Kelly Clarkson On Hosting BBMAs While Struggling With Appendicitis
Ever since she appeared in the first ever season of American Idol, it has been all about climbing the ladder of...May 7, 2019
Pink Shares Her Painful Experience Of Suffering A Miscarriage As A Teenager
Singer and songwriter Alecia Moore whom we know as Pink recently came up with her latest album Hurts 2B Human which...May 7, 2019
Here’s Why Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Unfollowed The Royal Family On Instagram
The royal couple of Sussex already had a small following list on Instagram, and as if it wasn’t short enough, they...May 1, 2019
Barbara Palvin On Life As A Victoria’s Secret Angel: It’s Not Just Work
The newest angel in the paradise of Victoria’s Secret, Barbara Palvin is very much aware of what it takes to maintain...May 1, 2019
Kit Harington’s Favorite GoT Scene With Wife Rose Leslie Is Extremely ‘Bizarre’
Game of Thrones will always be special to all the cast members, but for Kit Harington, it holds special importance as...May 1, 2019
Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel Workout Is No Joke, Says Her Trainer
It’s not every day that an actress gets the chance to be cast as the leading female superhero in a Marvel...May 1, 2019
Hilaria Baldwin Is Using A Mild Stretching Routine To Recover From Miscarriage
Fitness expert Hilaria Baldwin is recovering from her miscarriage, and while she’s being extra cautious with her body, she is...May 1, 2019
Katie Lee On Her Emotional Battle With Infertility & Social Media Comments
The co-presenter of the Food Network’s cooking talk show series The Kitchen, Katie Lee has an important message to remind social...April 30, 2019