On Elephant Day (13/3), Thailand acknowledges the majestic and powerful animal that forms such an integral part of the national identity.
As long as it is protected, Khao Yai National Park is a safe home for many elephants. However, as these visitors to the park found, it’s important to respect wild elephants and allow them space.
The National Elephant Institute is a great place to find more information about the historic importance of elephants in Thailand, as well as current conservation issues. According to the Institute, loss of habitat combined with human pressures could push Thailand’s wild elephants to extinction within 50 years.
At the start of the last century, there were over 100,000 elephants in Thailand. The population is now estimated at just 3,000-4,000. Around half of these are domesticated, with the remainder living wild in national parks like Khao Yai.