Just yesterday we had an item on a paper by University of Manchester eggheads on how civilisation threatens Thai elephants. Now, the online news site Chiang Mai Citylife is reporting that authorities in Chiang Mai have banned the beasts from the streets of the Rose of the North.
Despite our offers for the mahouts to take these elephants to Pang Chang, a very few number of them have turned in the elephants because they usually make 2000 to 3000 baht a day wandering around the city which is a lot more money than they can make in Pang Chang.
And of course this is quite right. The mahout bring the elephants to the streets of Bangkok and other big cities for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks: Because that’s where the money is.
How to turn that around, and how to give the elephants and mahouts a decent life outside of begging in the city — that is the 64 million baht question.