Gone Astray - The Care and Management of the Asian Elephant in Domesticity


RICHARD C. LAIR

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS (FAO)
Forestry Department, Rome, Italy
and
Forestry Department Group, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP)




Table of Contents


The designations and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its frontiers or boundaries.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author alone and do not imply any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO.

Photo credits are below given by number, the photographers listed in order of appearance.

Copyright in all cases remains with the photographers, to whom FAO wishes to extend its thanks for their generous permission to reproduce their work.

Tim Pelling:

Front cover, 2, 22

Richard C. Lair:

Frontispiece, 1, 3-12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20-38, back cover

Masakazu Kashio:

Title page

Vichan Kochabal:

13

Preecha Phongkum:

16

Khyne U Mar:

19

Designed by Richard C. Lair

ISBN 974-89472-3-8

Printed by Dharmasarn Co., Ltd., Bangkok

First print: October 1997
Second print: February 1998
Third print: November 1999

For copies write to:

FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (c/o M. Kashio)
Maliwan Mansion, 39 Phra Atit Road
Bangkok 10200
Thailand
Tel: (662) 281-7844, Fax: (662) 280-0445
E-Mail: FAO-RAP@FIELD.FAO.ORG

Elephants are probably the only animals employed by man that have never been bred selectively, and being for all intents and purposes wild animals they should receive greater consideration than more domesticated animals. Actually the very reverse is usually the case.

A.J. Ferrier, 1947, The Care and Management of Elephants in Burma


Table of Contents


Foreword

Background of this book

Preface

Acknowledgements

Acronyms

Introduction

Introduction
Wild elephants

‘Domestic’, ‘domesticated’, or ‘captive’?
The period covered
Legal status and jurisdiction of elephants
Interrelationship of wild and domesticated elephants

Releasability
Wild-to-domesticated transfer
Domesticated-to-wild transfer

Distance of transfer

The role of domesticated elephants in wild elephant conservation

The literature on domesticated elephants

Supplementary sources

Domesticated elephants

The history of domestication
The animal

Physical attributes
Temperament

The keepers

Mahoutship (I)

The mahout’s perception of self

Management perspectives on the keepers

The institutional perspective
The socio-economic perspective
The cultural perspective

Employment (I)

Numbers of domesticated elephants in Asia
Affinities between countries with domesticated elephants

Size of national populations
The domesticated-to-wild elephant ratio
The cultural divide
Development and its effects
Importance in conservation

Photographs

Country Profiles

Bangladesh

Cambodia

Wild elephants
Distribution of domesticated elephants
Numbers of domesticated elephants
Legal status and registration
Institutions involved
Veterinary care and health
Recruitment
Prices and the market
Employment
Ownership
Mahoutship
Cultural dimensions
Conclusions

India

Wild elephants
Distribution of domesticated elephants
Numbers of domesticated elephants
Legal status

The law and troublesome elephants

Registration

Declarations and monitoring
Standard forms needed
Individual identification
Conclusions: Registration

Institutions involved

State forest departments

State forest department wildlife agencies
State forest department logging operations

Project Elephant
Livestock agencies
Non-government organizations (NGOs)

Veterinary care and health
Recruitment

Capture
Captive breeding
Conclusions: Recruitment

Prices
The market
Employment
Ownership
Mahoutship
Cultural dimensions
Conclusions

Indonesia

Wild elephants

Human-elephant conflict
Poaching
Proposed cull

Distribution of domesticated elephants
Numbers of domesticated elephants
Legal status and registration
Institutions involved
Veterinary care and health
Recruitment

Capture

Problem elephants
Khoonkies

Breeding
Conclusions: Recruitment

Prices and the market
Employment

Selective logging in natural forest
Work in production forests
Conclusions: Employment

Ownership
Mahoutship
Cultural dimensions
Conclusions

Lao PDR

Wild elephants
Distribution of domesticated elephants
Numbers of domesticated elephants
Legal status and registration
Institutions involved
Veterinary care and health
Recruitment
Prices
The market
Employment
Ownership
Mahoutship
Cultural dimensions
Conclusions

Malaysia

Myanmar

Wild elephants
Distribution of domesticated elephants
Numbers of domesticated elephants

Past numbers
Present numbers

Legal status
Registration
Institutions involved

International interest

Veterinary care and health
Recruitment

Recruitment in colonial days
Capture

Past capture
Recent capture
Offtake
Capture methods and mortality
Lack of supervision
Illegal capture

Breeding and the MTE

Past breeding
The goals of breeding
Biological factors
Human factors
Possible solutions

Prices
The market
Employment

Myanma Timber Enterprise elephants

The elephants
Work performed
Elephants, buffaloes, and machines

Privately-owned elephants

Ownership
Mahoutship
Cultural dimensions
Conclusions

Nepal

Sri Lanka

Wild elephants
Distribution of domesticated elephants
Numbers of domesticated elephants

Characteristics of the population

Median age
Sex ratio
Ratio of tuskers

Legal status
Registration
Institutions involved
Veterinary care and health
Recruitment

Capture
Breeding

Prices
The market
Employment
Ownership
Mahoutship
Cultural dimensions
Conclusions

Thailand

Wild elephants

Domesticated-to-wild elephant ratio

Distribution of domesticated elephants
Numbers of domesticated elephants

Past numbers
Present numbers

Ministry of Interior
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministries of Agriculture and Interior compared

Apparent population shifts by region

North
South
Northeast
Central, southeast, and Bangkok
Conclusions: Apparent population shifts by region

Legal status

Laws relevant to elephants

The Wild Elephant Protection Act of 1921
The Draught Animal Act of 1939
The Wildlife Reservation and Protection Act of 1992

Phlai Petch: A case study
Conclusions: The need for a special law

Registration

Jurisdiction for registration and management

The Ministry of Interior
The Ministry of Agriculture

Technical needs for registration

Affixing an identification number
Improved registration forms

Conclusions: Registration

Institutions involved

The Forest Industry Organization (FIO)
NGOs

Veterinary care and health

Acceptable veterinary care
Reasons for poor veterinary care

No government program
Few veterinarians in large-animal practice
Graduates unwilling to enter government service
Insufficient elephant-specific experience
Owners are ill-informed and superstitious

Conclusions: Veterinary medicine

Recruitment
Prices
The market
Employment

Past logging
Illegal logging
Trekking tours
Street-wandering in Bangkok
Entertainment and tourism

Problems brought by performance

Sanctuaries

Ownership
Mahoutship
Cultural dimensions

Tribal keepers

Karen
Kui

Conclusions

Vietnam

Wild elephants
Distribution and numbers of domesticated elephants
Legal status, registration, and institutions involved.
Veterinary care and health
Recruitment
Prices and the market
Employment
Ownership
Mahoutship
Cultural dimensions

The forest spirit language culture

Conclusions

The West

Wild elephants
Distribution of domesticated elephants
Numbers of domesticated elephants
Legal status
Registration
Institutions involved
Veterinary care and health
Recruitment

Imports
Captive births
Artificial insemination

Prices
The market
Employment
Ownership
Mahoutship

Human mortality
Free contact, protected contact, or confined contact?

Cultural dimensions
Conclusions

Conclusions

Wild elephants
Distribution of domesticated elephants
Numbers of domesticated elephants
Legal status
Registration

International Registry of Domesticated Asian Elephants
Inducements to voluntary registration
Marking for individual identification

Institutions involved

Livestock departments and domesticated elephants
Wildlife institutions and domesticated elephants
International umbrella organization
Veterinary care and health

Care manuals

Recruitment
Prices
The market
Employment (II)
Ownership
Mahoutship (II)

Tribal mahoutship
Loss of individual skills
Loss of uniform standards
Modern elephant training

Cultural dimensions

Recommendations

Think Tank

Pre-packaged programs: Law, registration, and veterinary care
The role of the West
Ethics

Afterword

APPENDIXES

Appendix 1: People interviewed
Appendix 2: Domesticated elephant data, Thailand, selected years, 1990-1994

Footnotes

Bibliography

Back cover