Elephants at village locations in Thailand

6 village locations has kept elephants in Thailand
There is presently 72 (5,5) living elephants in village locations in Thailand (in this database)

Region: Thailand is in this database included in asiaOther regions
Wild elephants:

Thailand has about 1600 (min. NA, max. 2000) wild elephants. Source:Sompoad Srikosamatara, (2010)

Location holdings:

6 village locations has kept 75 elephants in Thailand

(Database tables with collection of elephants further down on the page)

Elephants in village locations72 (5,5) living3 (2,1) dead
Sex ratio and
 Male  5 / 72 
 Female  5 / 72 
 Free contact  72 / 72 
 Protected contact  0 / 72  0%
 No contact  0 / 72  0%
 Unknown contact  0 / 72  0%
 wild  0 / 72  0%

Phu is a Karen word for a male elephant.

"Chang Pang" is a female elephant without tusks. There are females with a bit of tusks called "Khanai".

"Chang Plai" is a male elephant with tusks.

Chang Mae is the Thai word for mother and is added to the name after her first child is born.

Wild elephants

1996: 1 200-1 500 (Santiapillai, IUCN1996).
2002: 1000 elephants Lohanan (2002)
2010: 1600 Sompoad Srikosamatara, 2010

53 elephants were known to have been killed in Thailand in the wild from 1992 to 1997, 24 for their tusks.

captive population

In 1884, the north of Thailand alone had more than 20,000 captive elephants.

1965: the Department of Livestock Development reported that there were only 11,192 captive elephants.

1959-1969: 1138 elephants were legally exported (Storer 1981)

1979: Two female elephants (2 and ~ years old) were exported by the Dusit Zoo, Bangkok, to the Irish capitals Royal Zoological Society, in trade for 2 giraffes on 3 July, 1979. (Storer 1981)

1985: Later, in 1985, the number decreased to only 3,381.

1989: teak logging operations became banned, and some 2 000 elephants and owners became unemployed, in about the same time when tourism reached very high numbers, and those elephants became transferred into tourism activities in more than 100 camps and "elephant villages" (Baan Chaang).

1997: 2,180 left (Puttipong Khawnual 2005)

2012: 26 elephants without registration papers were confiscated and impounded at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center (TECC). At the March 13th National Elephant Day symposium in Bangkok, the DNP Chief estimated that 10% of the captive elephants in Thailand are not registered.

2014: a total of 4,435 elephants had the owner record. For the past 6 years, the birth rate (62.67±10.69) was higher than the dead rate (23.83±8.01) (p<0.0001). (Weerasak Pintawongs)

A typical elephant is valued at 400,000 baht ($1,200) and a baby (under 5 years) may cost upto 1 million baht (2010)

From Associations among tourist camp management, high and low tourist seasons, and welfare factors in female Asian elephants in Thailand
Using a generalized estimating equation (GEE) method, we found differences in concentrations of metabolic factors, lipid profiles and FGM concentrations across camps with different management styles, and between High and Low tourist seasons. Results suggest nutrition, work activities and tourist numbers may affect metabolic, lipid panel and FGM concentrations. We conclude that elephant well-being can be promoted by limiting the amount of high calorie treats given by tourists, ensuring animals receive appropriate amounts of exercise to reduce fat and increase muscle mass, and reducing stress by moderating the numbers of tourists interacting with individual elephants, especially during the High season.

This is the first study to examine metabolic and lipid parameters in Asian elephants under human care in Thailand across camps in relation to walking distance and working time, and provisioning of supplementary diet items, like bananas and sugar cane, by tourists during the High and Low tourist seasons. Significant differences across camps in FGM concentrations and metabolic status highlight the effect of tourist activities, and how supplemental feeding and lack of exercise may have negative consequences for health. There also was a significant tourist season effect on health status, with levels of several metabolic markers being higher during the High season, potentially reflecting higher numbers of tourists and associated activities.
Chatchote Thitaram (2019); Associations among tourist camp management, high and low tourist seasons, and welfare factors in female Asian elephants in Thailand

Export of elephants

1965: 76, 1966: 74, 1967: 77, 1968: 49, 1969: 52, 1970: 88, 1971: 84, 1972: 113, 1973: 43, 1974: 22, 1975: 12, 1976: 4 (Source: Department of Livestock Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, (Anon, 1994d) and earlier years of the same annual publication. via Lair, Richard, FAO: http://www.fao.org/3/ac774e/ac774e0h.htm)

According to CITES trade database, exports 1980-2020: 1980: 1 (USA), 1981: 3 (USA+Soviet Union), 1982: 2 (Japan), 1986: 2 (India), 1987: 2 (Germany+Japan), 1988: 4 (Japan), 1989: 3 (Japan), 1990: 2 (Hong Kong), 1991: 2 (Hong Kong), 1993: 2 (Japan), 1994: 3 (Japan+USA), 1995: 9 (China+Israel+Japan+Myanmar+USA), 1996: 22 (China+Japan+Myanmar), 1997: 17 (India+Israel+Japan+Myanmar), 1998: 10 (China+Japan), 1999: 10 (Canada+China+Japan+S. Korea), 2000: 17 (China+Japan+Sri Lanka), 2001: 14 (Denmark+Sri Lanka+S. Korea; 9 elephants to Korea origin from Laos) 2002: 19 (Japan+Philippines), 2003: 15 (Japan+Myanmar), 2004: 26 (China+Japan+Myanmar+Sweden), 2005: 12 (China+Japan), 2006: 20 (Australia+China+Germany+Japan), 2008: 3 (S. Korea, origin from Laos), 2009: 4 (Canada+Japan), 2012: 3 (S. Korea), 2013: 3 (S. Korea), 2015: 1 (Japan, origin from Laos)
(Source: CITES trade database)

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan, Facts about elephants in Thailand. Elephant Encyclopedia, (2021) available online retrieved at https://www.elephant.se/country.php?name=Thailand.
(archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources, among others

Internal relevant links

  • The elephant database startpage. Statistics
  • News about elephants in Thailand (From the sister site Elephant News)

  • NameElephant collectionTypePlaceDistrictProvinceStateRegion
    Baan Na Klang (village)
    Kept totally 7 elephants
    , 5 present (2,3) 1 births1 relocated1 deathsvillage
    Mae Chaem DistrictChiang Mai ProvinceNorthern Thailand
    Baan Ruamit elephant Village
    Kept totally 32 elephants
    , 30 present (3,0) 0 births2 relocated0 deathsvillageChiang RaiChiang Rai
    Chumphon Buri village elephant camps
    Kept totally 5 elephants
    , 1 present (0,1) 3 births4 relocated0 deathsvillageSurin Province
    Huai Bong Village
    Kept totally 4 elephants
    , 1 present (0,1) 0 births2 relocated1 deathsvillage
    Mae Chaem DistrictChiang Mai ProvinceNorthern Thailand
    Krabi Huay To elephant village
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0) 0 births0 relocated1 deathsvillage
    Mueang Krabi DistrictKrabi ProvinceSouthern Thailand
    Mae Ping elephant village
    Kept totally 35 elephants
    , 35 present (0,0) 0 births0 relocated0 deathsvillageChiang Mai

    This document was updated: 2020-10-27 06:15:38

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