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Elephants Enjoy Unemployment In Thailand Due To COVID-19

Thailand rethinks its elephant strategy.
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Tourism has been hit hard by the pandemic. Travel is kept to essentials and essentials nowadays are limited to basic needs and appropriate physical distance from other people. In Thailand, where tourism used to account for 20-percent of the country's gross domestic product, the rates have plummented to depressing lows.

Elephant attractions, one of the country's foremost tourism activities, have been suffering from the impact. Thailand is home to several elephant parks and from thousands of visitors a day, they'd be lucky to have five. The practice of riding elephants, which has been fought by animal activitists for decades, is a two-fold issue. Captive elephants can no longer cope and compete with wild elephants. "They cannot look for food in the forest because they are used to being fed,” told Borpit Chailert to the New York Times. “Imagine if we released around 3,000 domesticated elephants into the forest at the same time. There would be no food to feed all the elephants.”

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However, the restrictions enforced by COVID-19 have pushed elephant operators to rethink their strategies. One park directorÂAnchalee Kalampichit has already unburdened her elephants of the heavy benches on their backs and are currently roaming free on the grounds.

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According to her, this would be the first time in 44 years that the elephants would not have to carry the chairs.

Kalampichit's park is currently closed, but she has already stated that when it reopens, she plans to shift focus from offering rides and showing trick to educating tourists on elephants.

Kalampichit only has 78 elephants, which is a small fraction of domesticated elephants in Thailand, but it's a start.

This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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When everything around you suddenly turns dark, the first thing we'd prolly do, as humans, is to find and grab anything that is closest and nearest to us. We'll hold onto them for as long as we can, trying to collect ourselves and gather courage to adjust our eyesights to the pitch black environment that's consuming us minute by minute. And then you'd hear nothing. Your sense of hearing would somehow go off after not seeing anything for quite awhile. You'll let loose. Cry. Panic. You'll be exhausted for fighting your way out. Then just when you're about to stop and give up, you're no longer afraid. There's only this deafening silence and pithole of darkness that's gonna eat you up alive. And surprisingly, you'll make a home out of it.

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You'll be broken. And in those hair-like cracks, the light will stubbornly fight its way through until it warms you up. Until you realize to check the switch and turn it on. Until you allow other people to help you find your way back in the light. Until you realize you're ready to live in light again. There's a light at the end of this long and dreading tunnel. The only question that matters: will you let them in?

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