Covid-19 causing major elephant suffering
The elephant is the national animal of Thailand. But as Covid-19 shuts down the tourism industry, elephant sanctuaries have been forced to close. As well as damaging people’s livelihoods, the captive elephants' health is also at risk.
'Before Covid-19, we got tourists from all over the world. But with the pandemic, there are no tourists at all ', explains one worker at an elephant sanctuary popular with tourists. Elephants have long been of crucial importance for Thai people: 'we see the elephants in two different perspectives. First, as a working elephant. In the past for ... building houses, bridges, and temples. Now we use elephants for tourism. Here we use elephants for Buddhism. They help collect alms, and they join in Buddhist ceremonies,' explains a temple worker. With fewer tourists to interact with elephants, the animals are now suffering from a lack of exercise. 'I think lack of exercise will lead to more stress. The stress index in elephant hormones will increase,' explains one researcher.FULL SYNOPSIS