“For sale: 11 clever elephants. 3 million baht each,” Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Chon Buri, Thailand, announced in an ad on Facebook on May 29. That’s about $96,000 apiece.
The zoo makes money from tourists through admission tickets, elephant rides, and animal shows, but with Thailand closed to most foreign visitors (or requiring mandatory quarantine) since March 2020 because of the coronavirus, it’s facing a financial crisis. In a Facebook post on May 28 about its elephant problem, the zoo also said that “at this point, to close the wounds from COVID, we need to sell [them] out.”
It’s a similar story across the country. Some 3,800 elephants live in captivity in Thailand, many in camps, zoos, and sanctuaries. Some camps rent