The Urban Elephant

NATURE explores the unusual problems created as the struggle to give Asian elephants a home is fought worldwide.

They have a history of captivity that stretches over 200 years. They participate with humans in a surprising array of professions, including tourism, construction, and performance. And their gigantic footsteps may disappear from the face of the earth.

The enigmatic subjects of NATURE: The Urban Elephant, Asian elephants are losing territory to the inevitable process of deforestation. Industrialization all over Asia has hurt the mahouts, or elephant drivers, so that the trained elephants and their riders are being driven into major cities such as Bangkok to earn a meager living receiving donations and food from curious tourists.

Elephants forced into a captive life suffer emotionally, physically, and as a species. In “Safe Haven” one woman explains why created a santuary for retired performing elephants after giving up her own circus career.

Join The Urban Elephant’s trunk-raising salute to these talented, intelligent, and troubled creatures that we have just begun to understand.

To order a copy of The Urban Elephant, please visit the NATURE Shop.

Online content for The Urban Elephant was originally posted November 2000.

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  • Abby Nerogic

    I feel Sooooooooooo Bad 4 them! i Watched the Video and yeah…. theyre soooooo Cute! im in the SPCA club at my school

  • Max

    I saw this broadcast on PBS a couple of years ago and cried my eyes out. What wonderful amazing creatures. THANK YOU Elephant Sanctuary for providing a service that so few are even able to provide, no matter how badly we want to!!

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