Elephant tourism in Thailand has developed into an important socio-economic factor after a logging ban initiated in 1989 resulted in thousands of out-of-work elephants. However, the welfare of captive elephants has been a topic of intense debate among tourists, scientists and stakeholders because of the range of working conditions and management practices to which they are exposed. The aim of this paper is to summarize the current state of knowledge on captive elephant welfare, with an emphasis on tourist elephants in Thailand, and highlight information gaps and recommendations for future directions. Tourist-oriented elephant camps could improve the welfare of elephants through better management practices that take into account physiological and psychological needs of individual animals, including meeting social and nutritional requirements, providing good health care, and maintaining adequate facilities. Our goal is to develop science-based guidelines that government agencies can use to develop an enforceable set of practical regulations to ensure good management of tourist elephants in Thailand.
|Publication Title||Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science|
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