We also learned a little bit about issues Asian elephants face and about elephants in the tourism industry. What we learned was sobering and the situation can feel somewhat hopeless, but the work that KSES is doing to bring elephants back to the forest is uplifting and I commend their staff for making a difference. I hope that the data collected by us and others will create a set of guidelines that will allow other elephants in captivity to live like the five at KSES do.
In Karen hill-tribes, people have worked alongside elephants for thousands of years. Young male ‘mahouts’ (elephant keepers) will be partnered with an elephant and a bond will be created, limiting the dependence on tools for control. Over several years, a long-term relationship and mutual respect is established, where commands become the main form of control and interaction. In most cases a bullhook will still be carried for safety purposes, for both elephant and man.
"After 45 minutes we found a herd of 11 elephants. This family is one that often is within the area. It has 9 females (3 sub adult and 6 adult) and 2 infant males.
The difference between these elephants and the three we had seen the night before was striking. They were calm, collected and completely not bothered by our presence.
For people who manage elephants these are an excellent example; they are calm, moving slowly and have an air of confidence that you don't see with captive...