Elephants are an important part of Thai culture and the Thai way of life. They are a traditional symbol of royal power, an essential feature of Buddhist art and architecture, an a spiritual mentor for people of all walks of life. In the early part of this century, elephants roamed freely and in multitude throughout Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Prior to the 18th century they were the main machine of Southeast Asian war, a Thai king of the late 17th century having had 20,000 war elephants trained for battle. Elephants in Thailand have always been a symbol of both power and peace. They have always performed the most exacting physical tasks. And they have always been well loved.
The number of elephants in Thailand today is limited to about 2,600. Most of these are at various elephant camps around the country where they learn to in the forests and mountains and to entertain the hundreds of thousands of people who go to see them each year, and where they live, play and reproducee in a setting that is as close to the wild as possible.
* In May 1998, the Cabinet approved the designation of March 13 as Thai Elephants Day to raise and sustain public awareness of the importance of elephants.
* Elephant are recognzied as the national animal of Thailand.
* The flag of Thailand used to be a white elephant on a red background
* On 19 February 2005, the most expensive painting by an elephant sold for US,000.
* There are between 3,000-4,000 elepants in Thailand. Around half of these are domesticated, the remainder living wild in National Parks.
* At the start of the last century, there were over 100,000 elephants in Thailand.