The Thai elephant is the official national animal of Thailand. Before the 2nd world war the national flag was adorned with it. It has been a contributor to Thai society and its icon for many centuries. It has had a considerable impact on Thai culture. The species found in Thailand is the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus), a subspecies of the Asian elephant. In the early-1900s there were an estimated 100,000 domesticated or captive elephants in Thailand. Now there are an estimated four thousand domesticated elephants in Thailand and roughly a thousand wild ones in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. It was declared an endangered species in 1986 by IUCN, the world conservation union.
The pre-eminent threats to the Asian elephant today are habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, which are driven by an expanding human population, and lead in turn to increasing conflicts between humans and elephants when elephants eat or trample crops. About three thousands are working in tourism venues and about one thousand in logging in rubber plantation in the south of the country.
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