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World Ch. Schedule : WED 09:05 KST

* Date : 2020-01-15

A Scarred Memory
Can elephants living in the city ever be happy?

Currently in Korea, a total of 18 elephants are being raised and displayed at 8 zoos. These elephants live in cages, separated from their herds and forced to live on a land far away from home.

A number of measures have been taken to improve the welfare of captive elephants; for example, the behavior enrichment program uses toys and diverse feeding methods to temper their boredom. However, despite these efforts, the elephants exhibit stereotypic behaviors that indicate stress and mental instability.

Uprooted from nature and forced to live in cities with humans, each of these elephants has its own painful past. Is there really no way for them to be truly happy?

A way for humans and elephants to coexist

An elephant has a large brain that is commensurate to its massive body. Its temporal lobe, which is in charge of memory storage, is wrinkled and well-developed. Not surprisingly, animal experts agree that an elephant’s ability to remember is far beyond our wildest imagination.

The Elephant Nature Park, a famous elephant sanctuary located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, rescues and protects elephants from cruel abuse or sickness.

Its founder, Lek Chailert, points out that the number of wild elephants in Thailand has dwindled to some 2,000 due to merciless abuse, excessive labor, disease, and other reasons. She urges the public to wake up to the dire situation faced by the elephants.

Understandably, much of the park's effort goes into restoring the elephants’ natural instincts that have been chipped away by human beings. The park also provides easy-to-understand lectures to the public as part of its effort to protect the elephants from extinction, emphasizing that the most important of all is people’s love for these creatures.

How will they remember us humans?

Arirang TV’s special documentary [A Scarred Memory] searches for a new path that leads to peaceful coexistence of humans and elephants.

Hopefully, in the end, humans will be remembered by the elephants with nothing but love.

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