Asian elephants are the national symbol of Thailand. Over the past two decades, however, they have been endangered by Thailand’s commercial tourism.

At present, thousands of domesticated elephants in Thailand are increasingly subject to overwork, abuse and injuries. Worse, the problem continues in a vicious circle mainly because the Thai government does not make enough effort to improve the situation.

At the same time, the media coverage of the abuse is relatively limited. Extensive report on the matter can be deemed very offensive to the country’s image and its economy, which relies heavily on tourism.

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BEHIND THE SIAMESE SMILE
Produced by Pichayada Promchertchoo
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With limited knowledge of the situation of Thai elephants, both Thai and foreign tourists indirectly play a part in their plight by supporting some tourist businesses that take advantage of the animals.

As a Thai journalist, I felt an urgent need to inform the public, both in Thailand and abroad, of the real situation threatening the Thai Asian elephant.

I strongly hope that "Behind the Siamese Smile" will help generate a better public understanding and awareness of these animals’ plight, while encouraging more efforts to protect them from distress they do not deserve.