Thailand’s elephants say goodbye to the circus – and a life of cruelty

Many of the elephants in Thailand live in appalling conditions, but a UK charity has rescued some and returned then to their forest homes, and tourist stays are helping the project to grow

We are being watched. Waking to the call of wild gibbons, I peer out of my hammock into a clearing bathed in dawn light. The mahouts are stoking the campfire, and on the hillside opposite, four elephants – matriarch Thong Kam and three younger ones – keep a benign eye on the handful of humans temporarily sharing their forest home.

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