Magazine article Geographical

A Jumbo Problem for Thai Police

Magazine article Geographical

A Jumbo Problem for Thai Police

Article excerpt

Thai police have been out on night safari in Bangkok hunting down elephants Sat are hiding on disused building sites in the concrete jungle. The jumbos and their mahout drivers have been banned by city chiefs, after one beast went on the rampage when a tourist refused to feed it a stick of sugar. Police tracked the elephant through the city centre for several hours, eventually shooting it with a tranquiliser dart fired from a blowpipe.

The incident was the latest in a long line of accidents involving the lumbering beasts that have been descending on Bangkok in increasing numbers. Their drivers are desperately short of money now that the elephants are no longer employed in the logging industry. The destruction of Thailand's forests means that there is little food left for the elephants and no way for the mahouts to make the money to feed them.

Hundreds of Thailand's 3,000 domestic elephants are already employed in the tourist industry, playing jumbo football, performing tricks and taking visitors on mini jungle treks. …

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