Beasts of Burden | Full Movie
(ominous music) (chanting) (intense music) (vocalizing) ♪ It carries like brothers to the sea ♪ ♪ It washes us ♪ - At first, when he met his elephant, he has to take more than one month to go close, to be friends, and to talk with the elephant. It's passed down through his family. Since his grand-grandfather's time, and his grandfather's time, and his uncle's time, and his time, he's had the relationship between him and elephant is he can't explain with a word, but living with them, you would understand them more. - Logging had sustained the elephant. The people who'd looked after elephants, it had been the reason for having elephants in captivity, and for having so many elephants in captivity since at least 1950.
It's probably an exaggeration, but I like it anyway. They built the country. Thailand remained, was able to prove that it was a world power enough to be able to not be invaded, to be able to negotiate it's way through life by showing, look, we can control the timber industry, we can supply these things to the rest of the world, and provide a lot of income. In '89, they were still doing logging, but a lot of the forest was gone. And the old style sustainable logging of taking out three or four trees out of a stand of seven, and then coming back to it in 90 years and taking the other three or four trees out had stopped, and they were clear felling.
Allegedly, and I wasn't here, there was a big lot of rain. There were floods in Bangkok, but there were other places, obviously. Anyway, logging was banned. Elephants almost overnight were put out of work. Now, there's a film called (speaking in foreign language) which is set up at that time, and one of the quotes from it is, well what are we gonna do? A mahout can't eat elephant shit. And that is true.
These guys owned elephants. They'd looked after elephants for 3,000 years. They had to find ways to make a living. What I think happened, and again I wasn't here, is they started walking back home, and when they were walking back home, if for some reason, you take an elephant, and walk it down the street here, from sup-uh-rak. Sometimes, we'd take an elephant to the school.
People will come out, and they will feed the elephants. The storekeepers will come out. It's a Buddhist thing, it's good luck to feed an elephant. That somebody saw that, the mahouts saw that. They realized they needed a way to feed their elephant.
They weren't actually necessarily thinking about, 'cause nobody ever got rich street begging, they weren't necessarily thinking a way to make themselves rich. They realized people will pay to feed an elephant. Now, that I think, is how, actually probably tourism started as well.
And some of the ex-logging camp owners in the first tourist camps, the big ones, the trekking camps, in Chang Mai still to this day. (speaking in foreign language) That whole (foreign name) Valley, were centers of the logging industry. So the big logging camps said, well, people will pay to feed an elephant. People will pay to ride an elephant. Let's see if we can keep our elephants alive, keep ourselves in business, keep ourselves having a living, by bringing in tourism. - The latest stop of the logging in 2015 has put about four and a half thousand elephants out of work.
Now, there is tourism in Burma as well, however, that's not as big as Thailand, and the market is just not enough to provide work for all these elephants. So lately, we've seen a lot of elephants being smuggled from Burma into Thailand, sometimes onto Laos and onto China, through some laundering system. This is illegal. It should be stopped. But unfortunately, the owners of the elephants in Burma don't see a way to make enough money in their own country. - We need some form of mass tourism to look after 3,400 elephants.
And if it allows the mahout and the owner to make some money to feed that elephant and give that elephant the rest of its day off in a large piece of land, then it's worth it. In March this year, 100,000 more tourists arrived from China than from all of Europe put together. And Europe includes Russia, which was the third largest source market. - The problem is that over the last 20 years, we've been fighting very hard in Western countries to stop the practice of riding elephants. United States, Europe, Australia. Very hard, we've been fighting to make people understand that riding elephants is a no-no.
Elephant polo is a no-no. Where these Western people now are saying, well, we're not riding elephants anymore. The Chinese take over this market. And unfortunately for the elephants, the Chinese market is a completely different one, a much tougher one.
Give you an example. In the old days, people would pay 20 to 30 dollars for a 40 minute ride on an elephant. They would sit for 40 minutes, go around the forest a little bit, get through some ponds, so the elephant would get wet, and the people as well.
Couple of pictures made. And the elephant have a run for 40 minutes, then probably 20 minutes no work. Could drink a bit, could eat something, and then have another ride. But the Chinese market is completely different. These people pay only two or three dollars for a ride. They only sit on it for five minutes.
They just want to get the selfie, and a picture from distance on the elephant. You know, greetings from Thailand. The elephant has to work much harder, is in the full sun most of the day, doesn't have time to eat or drink. So actually, this awareness that we created for the Western world was actually on the short term right now. - Most Chinese guests are coming in on package tours.
In general, even if they do care that packaged tourists are not choosing their own hotel, they're not choosing their own camp. So they're just on a tour, which tick box, tick tick tick. This is what we do. This is where you go.
You do this time on the beach. You have this included in your tour. And then the agent will arrange that. And typically with that form of tourism, which is probably, and I don't know my facts on this one, but probably the largest form of tourism worldwide. And in order to make yourself cheaper than everybody else, if you're looking into that market, which we need to, then you have to cut corners.
- And basically, they work until they drop. Most of the elephants eventually get sore legs, arthritis. They get bad skin. They get abscesses.
And they work until they can't work any longer. To be very honest with you, I see that most of the elephants just die working, and only a few lucky ones make it into rescue centers. But the majority works until they drop. The pressure on these elephants for working so much actually makes them really itchy at the end of the day.
They wanna do something. Now currently actually what I see is that more and more elephant camps are turning into more like a animal welfare project, like a rescue center. Like non-elephant rides, no polo, no tricks.
However, I also see that lately, over the last few years, the amount of people that died at these elephant camps for tourists has been increasing. People are too easily expecting that elephants are gentle giants, and they're not. They can be very dangerous they could kill you without even wanting to. In some cases, foreigners get killed. We had a Scottish man in Ko Samui a few months ago, an American lady got killed in Chiang Mai in an elephant camp.
These things happen, and it's not gonna get any better. - When we started off, we'd say, we're using ex-logging elephants to help us in tourism. And that's our excuse, if you like, for doing tourism. That excuse doesn't really stand. People are breeding, tourism has now become a driving force in its own right. And not necessarily a good one, which is why we need to be helping to make it good.
But the number of elephants in Thailand in captivity is increasing at the moment. Partially through better accounting techniques, and more and more elephants are being legalized if you like. They already existed, they're being legalized.
Partially, we think being brought in from Myanmar, partially through breeding. A price of an elephant in Myanmar, to buy an elephant is, I know a camp in Myanmar where they are renting to start, they are renting government elephants to start a tourism thing. They are paying something like 100 dollars a month to rent the elephant, and 100 dollars a month upkeep.
That's 200 dollars. What's two times 12, 20-- 2,400. The figure I give you here is 18,000 US dollars. So, given that there are 6,000 elephants in Myanmar, and very little work for them to do, and it is extremely difficult to make a living, and there is growing demand for elephants in Thailand, and they can make in some of the not-so-good camps where they have to work too hard, they can make up to 40,000 in about a month. Of course it's happening somehow.
You would find a way to make it happen. It doesn't make sense for it not to happen. They interviewed, Traffic, I think, interviewed a customs guy, and he said, we've let so and so, I've let so and so number of elephants come through for this amount of money, through my border checkpoint because I'm saving money to go and see the World Cup. - Now, at the same time, we find out that elephants are taken from the wild, still young elephants in the forests of Burma, and even unfortunately in Thailand. Currently, they're using different techniques.
What happens is they find a herd of elephants with one or two, three babies. They then surround these groups, and actually use sedatives, and shoot with dart guns the babies. These babies will then drop and fall asleep, and then they will scare away the whole herd. In some cases, the mommies and the nannies that take care and protect these babies will stay on.
If they stay on too long, they'll be shot, they'll be killed. Pickup trucks with some special enforcement in the back can easily take a baby elephant like that on their backs. Usually with aluminum casing around, looking like some kind of soap truck.
A truck that brings soap and all kind of other stuff to little shops in the rural areas. The baby elephants will be dragged in there, keep 'em under sedation. They take 'em to little villages at the border, usually Karen villages, where these people have been training baby elephants for many many years.
This group that does this will get about 7,000 US dollars per elephant. But once this baby elephant has been trained, then a couple of weeks later, the value for this elephant goes up another three to 10,000 dollars. Then they will get a female captive elephant, and get the baby to be matched with the female.
Of course, you get some kind of a bond between that female, who is not the real mother. Once that bond is getting very clear, the owner of this elephant will register the baby as being born from this female. And of course, to the authorities, it looks that they are. It gets registered, and by then, it's a legal captive elephant, and the price for that elephant then suddenly becomes something like 60, 70, 80,000 dollars for the baby.
So this laundering basically is very very lucrative for these people. - You could say there's no way, some people say there's no way you can own another living soul. And I, to a certain extent, agree with that. But the paperwork says differently. They've spent a lot of money. Sometimes in their 3,500 year tradition, purchasing this animal.
It's more money. The cost of an elephant at the moment is more money than I personally have. And they are into debt for that. So they have a piece of paper that says they own it, so within the laws of the country, however you feel about it, you can't just take that elephant away without giving them money. If you give them money, because they've been elephant mahout for 3,500 years, they'd buy another elephant. That's problem number one, and the idea of releasing them, there are projects that have worked and experimented on releasing elephants back into the wild.
The most recent one going on is the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in two sites here in Thailand. I think for captive elephants, some captive elephants, with a nice and scientific approach, it is possible to release a captive elephant into the wild. But in Thailand, we have 3,470 elephants in captivity. And there isn't enough wild to let them go. I mean, the best figures, scientific figures coming out of, come out of India that says a wild elephant needs somewhere between 30 and 300 square kilometers to roam depending on habitat type.
Those are one of the things, and you can't generalize or cross from South of India to here, but they need a hell of a lot of space. And there isn't a hell of a lot of space outside the national park in Thailand. In Thailand, there are national parks that could take elephants. But the law currently states, and I've talked to people, whether it's gonna change.
And it's not gonna change. That you cannot put even, even very high, powerful people cannot put captive elephants back into the national park. Partially, because they are covered by the livestock, the Beast of Burden Act 1949. So they're officially livestock. So if you put your elephant into a national park, you're illegally grazing your, and that's the mindset of the law. It doesn't make so much sense to me.
There are so, at the moment, so many issues with the idea of taking elephants from captivity and putting them back into the wild. I personally believe it is a good answer for some elephants depending on being able to get hold of the wild itself. (gentle music) ♪ Pray for those who persecute ♪ ♪ Pray for those who persecute ♪ ♪ Pray for those who persecute ♪ ♪ Pray for those who persecute ♪ ♪ Show me how to use my voice ♪ ♪ Show me how to use my power ♪ ♪ Show me how to use my voice ♪ ♪ Show me how to use my power ♪ - A lot of tourists come with a really culturally imperialistic attitude about elephants, and they're like I really love elephants. And I wanna have this interaction with them, but they're angry with anyone who necessitates this interaction that they want to have. You know, they wanna go up and hug an elephant.
But they don't want there to be anyone there who can control the elephant. We try to keep, we try to keep elephants and mahouts together that have been together for a long time. Sometimes the mahouts will change camps a lot, but we think if they have a good relationship with the elephant, you should do things like increase their pay to keep them together and show them that their relationship is valued.
And a lot of camps can't do that. They'll keep the guys at minimum wage for years. Or less. Almost all the mahouts I've worked with are Karen. I see that they're just empowered since they don't own their own elephants. And a lot of times, they are stateless or undocumented and from Burma.
So if they can't stand up for themselves and they can't educate themselves, they can't really help the elephants. When elephants are born in captivity, they learn a lot from their mahouts. And they learn a lot from the adult cows in the herd. You can see them, from a really young age, start to mimic their mom. And one of the guys trained his elephant, giving it just treats.
Sharing his snacks with it. Sunflower seeds. They're really smart.
They're smarter than dogs, and we train dogs with treats so. When I first came to Chai Lai, there was an elephant, Ton-win. And she had a, she had a chain around one of her legs because she was close to the road where they bring in the food. And the trucks come in and drop off the food, and then the mahouts bring it to the elephants.
And her mahout was, I don't know, sleeping or something. And she just opened the chain by herself and walked over and grabbed the food and went right back to her place. Like as if no one saw the elephant walk across the field.
When I moved to May-wong, there were how many elephant camps? Like, four? And now there are 15? Now there are 200 elephants in the valley, and I think that it's a lot about marketing. There are so many places advertising to them, so the companies with the most money are the loudest. If a tour company is trying to make as much money as possible, then maybe they'll try to do several tours a day. Up to 10.
And push groups through, so that means the elephants and the mahouts don't have the time to stop and relax. Cool off in the river, eat food. The mahouts just have to make the elephants go. The tour operators will complain if it's a few minutes later. One of the mahouts, one of our friends was gored to death by an elephant. And he didn't wanna work with that elephant.
The elephant was in heat, and everyone said he's really dangerous. One of the mahouts actually said that morning this elephant's going to kill me, and the tour company said don't be lazy and get out the elephant. So the guy that was the most senior mahout at the camp had to get him to work, and he was dead 20 minutes later. - By he riding and working and then second time. He had problems here. Elephant would again come to down and elephant making his go down, and then he fall down.
And the elephant down went, his body just broken, (foreign language) - And no one gave a damn. The tourists went on as usual the next day. Some of the mahouts that were his friends, like, his family that worked together everyday, weren't even allowed to finish praying for him.
Had to get up and take the next group on a tour. - The elephant killing him. Elephant run, runned away so quickly. He no take care him. See problem here.
He died and, nobody take care him. All they can say go to take elephant. Go to take elephant. But no care just him. Or that he died. - If the mahouts are here from Burma, they don't get anything.
Yeah, you can't really criticize the companies that are doing things unethically. We've gotten death threats for a YouTube video that we made that was just about, like, trying to take care of the elephants better. Someone from the company came to me and said you don't have security here, and it's really dark at night.
I think it's dangerous, but I don't think they wanna kill me. Because if you wanna kill someone, you don't tell them that you're going to. So it's more intimidation, but it's still really scary. There's so much money involved in the business, and some people are profiting off of not treating the elephants as good as they could.
- You would like to hope that if the mahout is working with his own elephant, and in ideal situations, this is still true. It doesn't always happen. That they have a greater relationship with that elephant. We do have elephants and mahouts on site who, even if the elephant is owned by a family and three cousins, have always looked after the rotation around the elephant. They have grown up with that elephant for 20 years, and the whole idea of elephants and people working together works much better.
Especially for the elephant if they know the person involved. You can build a relationship. If you don't have that relationship, you far more often have to rely on coercion and punishment to make your elephant do what you want it to do. Ideally, you would be able to choose good mahouts. Then again, you can't necessarily choose mahouts because it's a hereditary thing. But ideally, if you were able to put it together, you would choose mahouts who are able to find a way to communicate with the elephant.
And the elephant can, and make that bond. To answer the second part of your question, when that bond isn't there, when you put a new person on the elephant, it is extremely unlikely, apart from a few very, very exceptional mahouts that I know, that that mahout and elephant can talk to each other. 3,400 elephants in captivity in Thailand. They have to have at least 3,400 mahouts. Each mahout has a different character.
Each elephant has a different character. So you're, in effect, looking at 3,400 different character combinations. Marriages, if you like.
Some people call it a bad marriage, but it's marriages. In some cases, it can be a good marriage. It's 3,400 different character combinations that have to manage. You can't generalize, but you do have to keep in mind that unlike a marriage, one creature, unlike a marriage, one creature is vastly stronger than the other and cannot express themselves in words. So what we're doing through the target training workshop program is recognizing that all the mahouts know about positive reinforcement. They also know about punishment and all of the other things, but they know about positive reinforcement.
But what target training does is give them a chance to use it scientifically, to learn that they can't, the trainer says capture the right behavior. So just in the same way as whacking an elephant on the head, the elephant doesn't understand what it did wrong. Quite often if you use positive reinforcement wrongly, if you give it the treatment it flaps its ears as well as the same time it does what you want it to do, it thinks its getting a treat for flapping its ears. So what target training does is it teaches the mahout to say I want, this is the behavior I want. And this is how I insure that the elephant knows that it's being rewarded for doing this. Luckily, target training is very, very good for something the vets all want to do and elephant managers all want to do, which is foot care for the elephants.
And it's also something that has never been imparted. No form of any of the Southeast Asian training has designed, was designed around getting an elephant to present its feet. - Okay, so I'm Fiene. I'm the signs officer and intern coordinator here at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. My background is animal behavior and conservation, so I'm really happy to work here because they look at the bigger picture more. Not to help our elephants but all the elephants or try to take all the elephants, which is really nice.
So my task, basically, is train the elephant and to just we'll see (laughs) make sure that changes slowly over time. Always try to work with the mahouts to teach them new ways or try to remind them of different ways because some of them do understand, but they like to go back to their own way. So with the target training, the target training is basically having your target and bringing her whatever we want. Back foot lift, backside, side, to the paw, to the stick. And then she gets the positive reinforcement.
Good. So I'll present the target. Target is touch to the head, and then once she touches, I say good. And she gets the reward.
All right, try again. Target! Not quite on the head. No. Target.
Good. Hand. Hand.
Good girl. Good girl. Good girl. Good girl. And then once that's up, we could easily check the nails, the foot pad. Whatever we need.
So it doesn't matter. There's no rush and elephant decides. Leg. Good girl. So some elephants have a really short attention span, so they do it for, like, two minutes. Or they're really good, and then they decided not for me anymore.
So if they walk off a little bit, try to look in that grass. That's totally fine with me. I will try a couple of times to get her back. And if she decides she don't want it right now, I don't force her.
So it's all voluntary cooperation. So she doesn't need to do this, but she wants. And she gets the treat for it.
If she decides, I don't know, doesn't bother me. Don't need the treat. She wouldn't do it, but she let us do it. So sometimes they even endure lockjaw or something more painful, but they will stay here because they want to.
Not because we keep them here, so it's all their choice. ♪ If I walked borders on your skin ♪ ♪ Would you rip the clothes from our backs ♪ ♪ If I fell, your hands full of stones ♪ ♪ Would it keep the water from our lips ♪ - Chai Lai Orchid is an eco resort in Chiang Mai Thailand. Well, we started Chai Lai Orchid to fund Daughters Rising. Daughters Rising is an eco trafficking non-profit, and we don't have any funding. It's 100% funded through our social business, the Chai Lai Orchid.
We have girls that learn, well, they come and we have a safe house if they need to just stay. We have a job training program where girls learn all the different aspects of hospitality. Housekeeping, cooking, working in a cafe, some accounting. They also have women's empowerment workshops where they learn about everything from self-defense, Muay Tai, internet safety, human rights, women's rights, migrant workers' rights. Nukul is in our program at Daughters Rising. And when girls graduate, they have the choice to take out an interest free loan to start their own small business.
Or we'll pay for their education, but Nukul had already gone to college some. So she wanted to start her own business, and her idea was to open an elephant retirement home and rescue in her village. - I want to have my, I want to sit in the jungle. I want to work first with my family, and I want to help common people that didn't have a job. Like cooking, take care elephant.
Cut the grass to elephant. - This place creates jobs for a lot of people in the village. The village is so remote. They don't have access to sell anything or to go to work everyday or even go to school. The people here are farming, but they're usually just farming to have enough to eat. They don't even have enough to sell if they could go to a market.
I think it's different because it's really remote and authentic. It's pretty simple. The concept is, we take all people's stuff away. There's no electricity.
You have no signal, so you're forced to be present and interact with the humans that you came on holiday with or maybe just, like, be with yourself and be in nature. And people love it. A lot of people tell us it was their best stay of their trip. One of their favorite places. And that means a lot. So we have a policy.
We don't want to ever buy an elephant. We thought if we could work with camps that are working the elephants really hard and show them that there's a different way, we're helping in two ways. We're giving the elephants better quality of life, and we're also showing the owners that there's a different method in which they can monetize owning elephants without hurting them. So the Chai Lai Orchid people can just watch elephants, feed them, bathe them in the river. These are elephants we fully retired. We still have to pay money for their food and for rent and for the guys to take care of them every month.
Bo-le was in hovels because Bo-les are too dangerous, and no one wanted to work with them. So then they'd just spend their life chained. With their front legs chained together. And the other one was working, and she had to do rides and chair rides at a trekking camp. - And she was blind. - Yeah.
Which I think must be really scary for her. And if we can't continue to raise the money, then she has to go back to work. It's hard because the majority of tourism in Thailand right now comes from China, and it's a different demand.
People wanna have cheap interactions with elephants that are as fast as possible. They don't wanna get dirty. They don't wanna go in the water or get muddy. Elephants are really messy, so it's difficult to convince the owners that this is the way forward when they see tourism from, with elephants from Western countries and people that want to have more ethical experience with elephants kind of declining. All of our guests find us from doing a lot of research and looking online, but it's expensive. We don't have enough money every month to be paying to put brochures.
You have to pay for the stand that your brochure goes into. Plus you have to pay for the printing. So for a small company, it's cost prohibitive. Elephants are really expensive. It's a challenge every month.
Some months my husband and I don't take home our small Thai salary. So right now it's still month to month. If we can get more, if we can get more help or get more people to visit, we can help a lot more elephants.
- It's a costly operation, but they're big animals, you know? Nothing is for free, so it's common. But you can find ways to generate money to care for these animals. For example, volunteer programs like we do.
When I started the foundation, people told me when I was caring for the animals Edwin, why don't you get volunteers to help you out? And I said well, the problem is volunteers from abroad, I need to give them a room, so I got to beds, I have to feed them. It's going to cost me so much money. It'd probably be much better to hire local staff, but then people said well, you got this wrong, you know.
You can have paying volunteers. I thought it was an absolute crazy idea at that time. People come and work here and pay for it? Why would you do that? But then I started looking around the other organizations all around the world and started searching on Google, and I found out that the majority of projects had this volunteer program. Thailand was a country with lots of people coming from all kind of countries over the world, so the combination of helping animals and then Thailand as a country became quite successful. We run a very good program.
One of the cheapest ones, to be honest. Because I want everybody to have the chance to volunteer with the animals. In our place, you could volunteer with wildlife. You could volunteer specifically with the elephants. And even for those people that are a bit older and don't wanna be, you know, scooping up elephant poo everyday, there is a place like the lodge we have over here to have a bit more privacy and much better standard of rooms. Like a three, four-star volunteering program as well.
It's a bit more expensive but for people that are a bit older, it's usually a welcome difference. But it's basically turned into a sustainable program, so people volunteer here, pay for their volunteer time here, and this basically made it possible for us to continue, increase, make a better and better project every year. The majority of animals that we rescue are taken from people's pets, sorry, pets. Animals that ended up in illegal wildlife trade and were intercepted, confiscated and then also we have a very large part of animals that were injured in traffic, electrocuted by power lines, et cetera, et cetera.
I think our emphasis, our main focus of rescuing these elephants is that we do not keep any of the elephants on chains even at night. We do not lock them up in enclosures at night. Our elephants roam around 24/7 and are able to to show natural behavior. Larger and larger enclosures like the elephants behind me here at the moment where they can walk around. They can walk in the open grass area, go for the swim whenever they want, or they can look for cover under the trees on my other side. So these elephants can choose whether they wanna be in the open, in the water.
They wanna swim, they wanna walk, they wanna eat. Up to them. Day and night. They can make that decision themselves.
Also, in our elephant sanctuary here, we do not ride the elephants. There is some hands-on work like showering them. And with feeding, of course, you get very close to them.
But we keep the contact to a minimum because that's better for both people and the elephants. The daily day at a rescue center like ours is, it starts in the morning around 6:00 when the first food is being put in their enclosures. They wander around, get a bit of food here, get a bit of food over there.
We don't drop it all in one place. The animal needs to exercise, walk, look for it, forage for it. In the wild, they wouldn't eat from one place.
They would go around as well. We do the same here. We do check their health. Our veterinary team everyday passes by and looks at the behavior of the elephants, looks at their body, at their eyes, and basically a general checkup everyday. Around lunchtime, they get fed again. After lunch, some of the elephants will be washed.
This is a hands-on thing, but washing the elephants and being hands-on with them at least once a day actually gives us a much better idea about the general wellbeing of the elephant. We can actually see the skin from nearby, we can see their behavior. Got any pain? They got any trouble? The elephants, once a week, get their special vitamin supplements as well. Usually put into bananas and all kind of other foods, so they'll just eat it. It's very important they get it because most of them are old ladies.
The ones behind me here are all over 60 years old, so they need their vitamins and all their stuff. Yeah, in the evening, they get fed again. Grass put around the enclosure, enrichment, food being hidden everywhere so they have something to do at night.
And we see that most of the elephants are busy looking for these little treats until about nine, 10:00. And then they usually spread around the enclosure and lay down. They basically sleep, eat, and shit. (gentle music) - I think for the situation in general, the key thing is come and see for yourselves.
Please do come. There is a lot of oversimplification for certain audiences, actually on both sides. But a lot of oversimplification in the other direction, which says all elephant riding is bad.
All elephant tourism interaction is bad. Funnily enough, it mostly says all elephant interaction is bad except in my camp. But that's, the harm that that has caused is that it's leading or has led, we've seen it happen, has led to people who would otherwise be able to have an influence on a camp such as mine or a, I have special market so I'm okay. But influence on a trekking camp. To say well, hang about, I saw your elephant was working too hard, or your mahout is overusing the state.
Your mahout is doing training too much. People who could have this influence are now no longer coming to the camps that need to improve. And that's forcing owners to look for other markets who are not necessarily, the other markets themselves are not necessarily in a position to exert that influence. One of the biggest threats of people staying away.
People who would be able to affect positive change staying away from any and all elephant camps is that they're not able to move the conversation forward. - It's not the ideal situation for elephants. We wanna see a thriving wild elephant population, but right now, that's not a possibility. There's no place to put them in the wild, and there's a huge captive elephant population in Thailand. So there needs to be emphasis on how we can take the best care of them and improve their lives. And it's really hard for small places that aren't driven by greed that really wanna take good care of the elephants.
So. I don't know, tourists can help a lot. Tourists can help the elephants if they really think about what they're spending their money on and research it. - You can have the best dreams in the world. But if you don't make a plan, that dream stays a dream. And when you have a plan, it becomes a target.
(gentle music) ♪ How's it gotta be let the waters rise ♪ ♪ How's it gotta be let it rise ♪ ♪ Traipse the wide ocean that never dries ♪ ♪ How's it gotta be let it rise ♪ (rhythmic music) ♪ The place ain't passion and you take your time ♪ ♪ How's it gonna be when they rise ♪ ♪ Are you gonna stand down in the trial ♪ ♪ Watch it all show through your lies ♪ (rhythmic music) ♪ How's it gonna be when the waters rise ♪ ♪ How's it gonna be when they rise ♪ ♪ How's it gonna be when the waters rise ♪ ♪ How's it gonna be when they rise ♪ (rhythmic music) (vocalizing)