Some of the elephants at the Elephant Nature Park were rescued from the Myanmar logging industry. Many had been abused by cruel workmen. Here is a video from the Elephant Nature Park profiling Kabu, who had to work even after a terrible, disfiguring accident.
But, there is another side of the story too. With stricter logging regulations due to environmental damage (the UN estimates 42% of forests have been destroyed since 1990), Myanmar has at least 2,500 elephants that are unemployed now – some of these captive elephants are released into the wild by their owners as they are too expensive to keep retired.
That sounds wonderful, except the captive elephants and wild elephants often give each other disease. Also, many of the previous logging elephants enter human areas, destroying crops and conflict erupts.
Other elephant owners sell their elephants to Thailand. Unfortunately, most do not end up at the Elephant Nature Park but rather are forced into circus labor.
There are no easy solutions to this problem. One thing you can do to help is support organizations such as the Elephant Nature Park who ensure working elephants can live out their remaining years in peace. Also, if you travel to Thailand, visit nature parks that do not promote circus attractions.