The annual World Elephant Day campaign requested a comprehensive research paper, detailing the current situation of endangered Asian Elephants.
Excerpt from 'Beyond Ivory: Asian Elephants In Crisis'
"Young and baby elephants are the most susceptible to wild capture, and mother elephants are often killed trying to protect their calves. Most are subjected to some form of abuse, to break their spirit and “tame” them for use with humans. In captivity they typically live a solitary, or near-solitary life, unable to interact with other family members or roam the vast areas of their forested homeland; confinement and isolation can cause serious emotional distress and psychological harm.
Elephants also face a much shorter lifespan in captivity – as little as half the life expectancy of wild elephants. Many countries lack proper legislation to protect elephants and ensure adequate care, which can lead to severe mistreatment. They can be subject to injuries, illness, infections, and exhaustion. In Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka, captive elephants are also used for other purposes, such as street begging or ceremonial events.
When living in these urban environments they face many dangers. The conditions are completely unsuitable for their health; they may ingest improper foods, get foot infections from standing and walking on hard concrete, or die from accidental electrocution. In the tourism industry, elephants may have to carry humans on their back for hours on end. In many cases these tourist operators do not adequately maintain the seats or “howdahs,” which can cause injuries to both the elephants and the tourists when not outfitted properly."