Elephant Tourism in Thailand Is Fueling a Deadly Black Market in Baby Pachyderms

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Elephant Tourism in Thailand Is Fueling a Deadly Black Market in Baby Pachyderms

A report finds that poachers are killing adult elephants in neighboring Burma to capture their offspring.

(Photo: Sukree Sukplang/Reuters)

July 31, 2014

Millions of people travel to Thailand each year, and many visit one of the country’s many elephant tourist camps, where they ride and pose with the pachyderms. But few probably bother to think about how the animals got there. If they did, they might make other plans.

A new report from U.K.-based wildlife monitoring group Traffic found that rising demand by tourists to commune with Asian elephants is fueling a black market in wild-caught animals.

“The capture of wild elephants for Thailand’s tourism industry poses a serious threat to the future survival of the country’s wild population,” the report said.

Over the past 75 years, the Asian elephant population…

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