Elephants Roam Freely in Thai National Park as Lockdown Keeps Tourists Away | 22 Words

Incredible images of elephants roaming freely in a Thai national park has gone viral this week, and it has shown the truly amazing effect the lockdown has had upon our wildlife.

Keep scrolling for the full story, and to see the heartwarming photos for yourself...

The Asian elephant is a truly majestic species.

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With it being the largest mammal on the Asian continent, this species of elephant is greatly respected in cultures all around Asia.

They are incredibly sociable animals.

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These elephants are usually spotted in groups of around 6 or 7 females, and they are known to join other groups of elephants to form a larger group.

This elephant is an important cultural symbol...

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And they are very much loved and respected across the continent.

But sadly, this isn't always the case.

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As a result of human activity, the Asian elephant is now listed as endangered, with fewer than 50,000 left in both the wild and captivity.

There are two major factors that can be credited to these devastating numbers...

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The first is poaching - Like the African elephant, Asian elephants are relentlessly poached for their ivory tusks.

And the second is the destruction of their natural habitat.

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As urbanization, industrial development, and agricultural expansion increase in countries like India and Indonesia, Asian elephants’ habitats are shrinking rapidly.

And the ones who have survived our destruction?

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Well, captivity is the only answer.

Around 15,000 Asian elephants are currently living in captivity...

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And it's all thanks to our impact on their habitats.

Sadly, a lot of these elephants in captivity suffer tremendously.

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Elephants are usually at the top of a tourist's list when visiting countries across Asia and locals have been cashing in on the exploitation of these animals for decades now.

Whether they are being forced to perform...

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Or used as novelty "rides" for tourists, these elephants are trained and often beaten into submission, which slowly chips away at their souls and characters.

However, not all captive environments are so cruel.

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There are so many national parks and organizations that provide these elephants with the environment and care that they deserve.

These elephants can roam freely for miles...

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All while tourists watch and observe from a safe distance.

And now, things are looking even better for these animals.

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In recent months, the population of us humans roaming around has dwindled due to the global pandemic.

Even though the deadly virus has brought life to a complete standstill...

Wild animals are flourishing more than ever without the presence of humans and invasive tourists.

And Asian elephants are no exception.

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Remarkable images from Thailand has recently emerged on social media that shows the amazing effects human absence has had on these animals.

Khao Yai National Park is usually heaving with crowds and traffic...

via: Facebook

But, since imposing a lockdown in March, the park has been completely free of tourists and visitors, a first since 1962.

The park is home to around 300 Asian elephants...

via: Facebook

And, during this unusually quiet period, they have been freely roaming around the roads and tracks that they'd normally avoid.

The development of roads has had a huge impact on these elephants...

via: Facebook

As it breaks up the trails they used to use to access the river. But now, with the absence of cars, they are now confidently crossing the road once again to access the water.

The park shared the photos onto Facebook...

Where it has received over 3,000 reactions and 200 shares.

We can only hope that this newfound freedom lasts...

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And that, after the lockdown, tourists and companies alike can learn from their mistakes. For more on the perils of riding elephants, keep scrolling...