Many elephants now are among the homeless in Thailand because of the coronavirus pandemic. These animals are expensive for private companies and nature reserves – because of the crisis there is no money left for their maintenance.
As a result, more than a hundred elephants in Chiang Mai province have been sent to their natural habitats. They have travelled 150 kilometers in a caravan.
One elephant owner said the cost of maintaining an elephant each month was about $6250; it included renting land and premises, paying employees’ salary and buying food for animals. Elephants eat up to 300 kilos of grass and vegetables a day.
Transporting animals by truck would have cost the owners too much, so they went on foot.
«These elephants have been unable to return home for 20 years. They seemed to be very happy when they came back home, they made happy noises, they came to the creek near the village and had fun», said one of the owners.
The local Elephant Sanctuary believes it is good for the animals to return to the wild, where they can live on their own. The organization also encourages donations for food to animals that still remain in tourist parks.
The World Animal Protection Organization warns that over 2,000 elephants who live in zoos or tourist parks may starve to death because their owners are unable to feed them because of the crisis.