The elephant is Earth’s largest land animal, although the Asian elephant is slightly smaller than its African cousin. Asian elephants can be identified by their smaller, rounded ears. (An African elephant’s ears resemble the continent of Africa.). They live in forested regions of India and throughout Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. About a third of Asian elephants live in captivity.
ELEPHANTS IN THAI CULTURE
In Thailand, elephants historically represent strength, loyalty and longevity. Today they feature in art, adverts, architecture and flags. Their intelligence has long been associated with the enlightened Buddha, making them guardians of Earth. Thai records of elephants being domesticated (for combat) date to the 1200s, but this use somewhat faded between the 1500s and 1800s. They were subsequently used in logging, working to clear thick jungle where mechanisation was impossible. The elephants were ideally suited to this role and largely coped well with it, although sadly some were overworked and died prematurely.
ELEPHANTS AND STEREOTYPICAL BEHAVIOR
Let’s talk about stereotypical behavior, what it is and why captive-held elephants engage in it. The facts might surprise you. Self-stimulatory or stereotypic behavior is defined as the repetition of physical movements. Two commonly recognized stereotypical behaviors exhibited by captive-held elephants are head bobbing and swaying.