Historically, the capture of wild elephants for wars and ceremonies and other human endeavours caused precipitous declines in populations of Asian elephants. Today, the capture of wild elephants continues, albeit on a much smaller scale, for the commercial sale of elephants to elephant-back safaris, zoos and circuses, causing the breakdown of complex relationships, lasting trauma and aggressive behavior.
The process of capture and training was, and still is, gruesome. Infants, calves and even adults were rounded up, separated from family and associates, hobbled and subdued through a process of physical and emotional abuse and reward. Similar capture, using helicopters, vehicles, immobilization drugs, ropes and winches, continues today. Photographs, video and eyewitness reports of the training of recently captured elephant calves show horrible abuse – calves are often held alone chained or in small cages, access to food and water may be withheld, and they are coerced with winches, or by pokes and jabs from a bull-hooks and other device. Check also ATE 2006. Statement on elephant capture. (168.97 kB)
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