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.
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Online content for The Urban Elephant was originally posted November 2000.
Production Credits Print
An Argo Films Limited Production for Thirteen/WNET New York and National Geographic Television in association with Trebitsch Produktion International, GmbH
About the Writer
David Malakoff is a journalist covering research discoveries and the politics of science for SCIENCE MAGAZINE in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared in a wide range of venues, including THE ECONOMIST, THE WASHINGTON POST, and ABCNews.com. He lives with his wife and three children -- NATURE lovers all -- in Alexandria, Virginia.
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