The Thai people have a long, shared history with the elephant and today the elephant remains a potent national symbol. In the past, Thailand's forests teemed with a vast wild population estimated at the beginning of the 20th century to be in excess of 300,000 with a further 100,000 domesticated elephants.
Those numbers have plummeted today and there is deep concern for the survival of Thai elephants.
Elephant Range: 25,000 km² approx
Country Ranking: 6th of 13
Total Wild Elephants: 3,000-3,700
Country Ranking: 3rd or 4th of 13
Total Captive Population: 3,500-4,000
Country Ranking: 2nd of 13
Source: R Sukumar - A Brief Review of the Status, Distribution and Biology of Wild Asian Elephants Elephas maximus- International Zoo Yearbook 2006
While this information source is considered the very best available, accurate data on wild elephant populations is difficult to obtain and scientifically verify. Many Thai experts believe the number of wild elephants to be very much lower than the figures quoted above and some put the total number at below 1,000.