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Thai Elephants
OCTOBER 2005
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Giants at Risk
Although shrinking wildlands, poaching, and conflicts with farmers have hit elephants everywhere hard, those in Asia are in far greater peril than even Africa's threatened giants. Once abundant form China to Iraq, Asian elephants now total no more than 50,000, including 15,000 in captivity. Thailand alone is believed to have had an estimated 100,000 elephants a century ago—half of them tamed to plow fields, transport goods, and muscle teak and other valuable hardwoods out of the jungles. Today about 3,000 tame elephants remain. A roughly equal number of wild ones—once common throughout the country—now live in small, isolated groups.


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