Elephant Family exists to save the endangered Asian elephant from extinction. They are working to expose the illegal smuggling of elephants and to stop calves being captured from the wild to supply the booming tourism industry. Their campaigns manager Jo Cary-Elwes explains more:
“Wild adults are often killed so that the babies can be captured to be sold into tourist camps. After being taken from the forests, calves are tied up, starved and tortured to ‘tame’ them for a life in captivity. Many die from stress, or because their bodies simply can’t take the beatings. At Elephant Family, this illegal trade is the focus of our key campaign because it is having a devastating impact on wild populations.
With the growth of tourism and the constant demand for Asian elephants in captivity there are strong incentives to take them from the wild – it’s a lucrative business. People love elephant calves, so they will generate greater revenue and they are also easier to train.
One of the other big drivers of this trade is known as 'buy to rescue', when sanctuaries or camps buy elephants to ‘rescue’ them. The sanctuaries may take care of the elephants, but they are fuelling the trade by creating a market and providing smugglers with money to go out and capture more elephants."