The internet went into chaos when a picture of a skeletal elephant on his knees went viral last month. And it was justifiably so. Keeping animals captive is harrowing enough. Mistreating them takes the crime to a whole different level.

Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand had severely starved and underweight elephants performing tricks for visitors. Two of their five elephants seemed to be sick and suffering even though the staff kept insisting that they didn’t have any health issues.

The uproar from the internet was noticed by the authorities, causing pupils from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to step in. They launched an inspection at the zoo and its treatment of the elephants. It was discovered, later, that the zoo’s license had lapsed in 2016.

Posted by Samut Prakan สมุทรปราการ on Friday, December 14, 2018

The animals were found in a heartbreaking condition. Since they lost many of their teeth, they couldn’t chew the food being given to them. Thus, the less intake of food had them starving and underweight, according to Bangkok Post.

The elephants were allowed to rest under the inspectors’ authority. Then they tried to construct a plan to bring the animals softer food and give them a healthier life.

While this was a harrowing case for many to view, there are countless things such as these happening all over the place. And many of them go unnoticed or unpunished because of a lack of regulation.

‪Samut Prakan crocodile farm and zoo denies starving elephant #SamutPrakan #Thailand ‬

Posted by Samut Prakan สมุทรปราการ on Wednesday, December 12, 2018

“Thailand, like many other countries in the region, faces numerous challenges in detecting and suppressing the trafficking of its native wildlife,” Nuggehalli Jayasimha, managing director of Humane Society International (HSI) in India, said. “Lack of strong animal welfare legislation and lack of regulation of zoos, circus and street performance has resulted in [the] suffering of elephants.”

However, there are pieces of evidence that changes are happening. “In March last year, [Thailand] announced a 10 per cent increase in elephant numbers within protected areas,” Jayasimha said. But there’s still room to grow: “Having a robust animal protection legislation that will create a deterrent to animal abusers will have a positive impact.”

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