The magnificent Asian Elephant
Sacred but exploited, the Asian elephant has been worshipped for centuries and is still used today for ceremonial and religious purposes. Not only is it revered for its role within Asian culture and religion, but it is also a key biological species in the tropical forests of Asia.
Though it's difficult to count elephants in the wild, it's estimated that the wild Asian population, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands at the turn of the 20th century, is now only 37-48,000. Around 15,000 elephants are in captivity in 11 Asian countries.
In Thailand, captive numbers are approximately 3,500*. Of these, over half work in tourism and some still work in logging. The wild population is thought to be stable at around 3,000.
* Captive and wild population numbers vary depending on whom you speak to and what you read. At the 2018 Annual Thai meeting, the Government declared that 3,772 elephants had been registered in Thailand.