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Elephants and KingsAn Environmental History$
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Thomas R. Trautmann

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226264226

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226264530.001.0001

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Drawing the balance, looking ahead

Drawing the balance, looking ahead

(p.298) 8 Drawing the balance, looking ahead
Elephants and Kings

Thomas R. Trautmann

University of Chicago Press

Ming period records show the Chinese confronting “bandit” armies in Yunnan using war elephants in the Indian manner, but the Chinese themselves refused to do so. The “land ethic” of India allows for the juxtaposition of cropland, pasture and forest; that of China proper maximizes cropland at the expense of pasture, forest and wild animals including elephants. After the demise of the war elephant there was a two-century reign of the timber elephant, now coming to an end except in Myanmar. Prospects for the persistence of Asian elephants, now protected in the wild, are reasonably good, though elephant-human conflict will be a continuing problem, while African elephants are rapidly being killed off for the ivory trade.

Keywords:   Elephants in Chinese history, The timber elephant, Elephant-human conflict

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