(Feature) – A film unit of the Ecologist website has uncovered an illegal cross-border trade between Burma and Thailand in endangered wild Asian elephants, according to a report on Tuesday on the website.
A video, produced by the Ecologist Film Unit in association with Link TV and the NGO Elephant Family, shows how Burmese traders dispatch between 50 to100 calves and young female elephants from their forest homes each year to be traded illegally in Thailand.
Most of the elephants go to supply tourist camps in Thailand, said the report. Many of the animals end up being used for trekking, in festivals, as attractions in wildlife parks and for riding at other tourist destinations, said the webiste.
The report said an unknown number of elephants die in the process and the trade threatens the remaining populations of wild elephants.
Capturing elephants from the wild often involves the slaughter of mothers and other protective family members with automatic weapons, it said.
Captured calves are subjected to a brutal “breaking-in” process where they are tied up, confined, starved, beaten and tortured in order to “break their spirits,” said the Ecologist.
It is estimated that only one in three elephants survive this inhumane “domestication” process, said the report.
Campaigners have called on Thai authorities to launch a fresh crackdown on elephant smuggling ahead of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora in Thailand in March 2013.