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Thousands of Thai elephants ‘face starvation as tourism industry collapses due to coronavirus pandemic’



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More than 1,000 elephants, including pregnant females, could starve in Thailand due to the coronavirus pandemic, conservationists have said.

Caretakers are struggling to afford food for the country’s 4,000 captive elephants as the global tourism industry collapses.

The animals can eat up to 200kg of food per day.

It comes as the country reported 120 new cases bringing the total to 1,771 on Wednesday, while two more people have died, resulting in 12 total fatalities.

The World on Coronavirus lockdown

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A nearly empty Times Square in New York

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A general view of an unusually quiet Civic Square at lunchtimein Wellington, New Zealand

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A policeman rides his motorcycle wearing a face mask in front of a closed shopping mall in Buenos Aires, Argentina

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The historic Channel 2 Bridge closed to fishermen, bikers and pedestrians in Florida Keys

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The Beach on Scenic Gulf Drive near Seascape Resort in south Walton County, Florida sits empty of tourists

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Surfers Paradise is seen empty in Australia

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A deserted Rajpath leading to India Gate in New Delhi

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A general view is seen of a closed Luna Park in Sydney, Australia

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A general view is seen of a closed Luna Park in Sydney, Australia

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Empty roads are pictured following the lockdown by the government amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Kathmandu, Nepal

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The empty pedestrian zone is seen in the city of Cologne, western Germany,

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Place de la Comedie in the city of Montpellier , southern France

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An empty street in Kuwait city

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A building is covered by the Portuguese message: “Coronavirus: take precaution” over empty streets in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil,

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A general view shows an empty street after a curfew was imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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Parliament of Canada is pictured with empty street during morning rush hour

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A near empty beach on Southend seafront in England

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Near empty Keswick town centre in Cumbria, England

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1/39

Military vehicles cross Westminster Bridge after members of the 101 Logistic Brigade delivered a consignment of medical masks to St Thomas’ hospital

Getty Images

2/39

A usually busy 42nd Street is seen nearly empty in New York

AFP via Getty Images

3/39

Aerial view of the empty 9 de Julio avenue in Buenos Aires in Argentina

AFP via Getty Images

4/39

Bondi Beach, Australia

Getty Images

5/39

Rome

AFP via Getty Images

6/39

Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain

Getty Images

7/39

Aerial view of the empty Central cemetery in Bogota, Columbia

AFP via Getty Images

8/39

Miami, Florida

AFP via Getty Images

9/39

The facade of the Palacio de Lopez (seat of the government palace)

AFP via Getty Images

10/39

Aerial view of the empty Simon Bolivar park in Bogota,

AFP via Getty Images

11/39

An LAPD patrol car drives through Venice Beach Boardwalk

AP

12/39

Venice Beach, California

Getty Images

13/39

Los Angeles, California

Getty Images

14/39

Surfers Paradise is seen empty in Australia

Getty Images

15/39

Many shops stand shuttered on the Venice Beach boardwalk

Getty Images

16/39

Empty escalators are seen at a deserted train station during morning rush hour after New South Wales began shutting down non-essential businesses

REUTERS

17/39

A nearly empty Times Square in New York

AFP via Getty Images

18/39

Caracas

AFP via Getty Images

19/39

Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador

AFP via Getty Images

20/39

A general view of an unusually quiet Midland Park in Wellington, New Zealand

Getty Images

21/39

A general view of an unusually quiet Civic Square at lunchtimein Wellington, New Zealand

Getty Images

22/39

A policeman rides his motorcycle wearing a face mask in front of a closed shopping mall in Buenos Aires, Argentina

AFP via Getty Images

23/39

Florida Keys

AP

24/39

The historic Channel 2 Bridge closed to fishermen, bikers and pedestrians in Florida Keys

AP

25/39

The Beach on Scenic Gulf Drive near Seascape Resort in south Walton County, Florida sits empty of tourists

AP

26/39

Surfers Paradise is seen empty in Australia

Getty Images

27/39

A deserted Rajpath leading to India Gate in New Delhi

AFP via Getty Images

28/39

A general view is seen of a closed Luna Park in Sydney, Australia

Getty Images

29/39

A general view is seen of a closed Luna Park in Sydney, Australia

Getty Images

30/39

Empty roads are pictured following the lockdown by the government amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Kathmandu, Nepal

REUTERS

31/39

An empty New York Subway car i

AFP via Getty Images

32/39

The empty pedestrian zone is seen in the city of Cologne, western Germany,

AFP via Getty Images

33/39

Place de la Comedie in the city of Montpellier , southern France

AFP via Getty Images

34/39

An empty street in Kuwait city

AFP via Getty Images

35/39

A building is covered by the Portuguese message: “Coronavirus: take precaution” over empty streets in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil,

AP

36/39

A general view shows an empty street after a curfew was imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

REUTERS

37/39

Parliament of Canada is pictured with empty street during morning rush hour

AFP via Getty Images

38/39

A near empty beach on Southend seafront in England

PA

39/39

Near empty Keswick town centre in Cumbria, England

PA

Thailand, which relies on tourism for a large portion of its economic growth, has been forced to close its borders to all visitors while the country goes into lockdown.

Lek Chailert, founder of Save Elephant Foundation, told the BBC that if no support comes “to keep them safe”, the animals could starve to death or be put on the streets to beg.

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Some elephants could be sold to zoos or returned to the cruel logging business, which officially banned the use of the animals in 1989, he added.

He said: “It’s a very bleak outlook unless some financial help is received immediately.”

Meanwhile, Kerri McCrea, manager of the Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary in Mae Chaem, said that villagers who live nearby had brought approximately 70 elephants back to her area because they were not receiving money from tourism to support them.

“Feeding elephants is a priority but the issue is that there’s not enough forest left to feed them,” she told the BBC.

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“The worst case scenario is that owners will have to chose between themselves and their elephants.”

“The people here don’t have much, but they’re doing what it takes to keep the elephants alive for now.”

Ms McCrae said that happy elephants are usually swinging their tails, flapping their ears or giving themselves dust baths to keep cool.

But when they get hungry, elephants get depressed so none of that behaviour would be on display, she added.

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Coronavirus

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Thailand

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