Thai Elephants' New Threat: Poachers After Their Meat
Some Asian cultures believe flesh will boost one's sexual prowess
By Dustin Lushing, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2012 4:17 PM CST
In this Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 file photo, elephants are fed with fresh sugarcanes at the elephant camp in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand.   (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File)

(Newser) – A new gastronomic fad in Thailand is pushing the country's elephants a step closer to extinction. Poachers, who have historically hunted elephants to obtain their ivory tusks, are now killing the giant mammals and selling their trunks and sexual organs to be eaten as food, reports the AP. Consumption of elephant meat is rare, but some Asian cultures believe it will increase a person's sexual prowess; an elephant penis sells for an estimated $950.

Two slaughtered wild elephants were discovered in a national park in December, both stripped of their trunks and sex organs. "The situation has come to a crisis point. The longer we allow these cruel acts to happen, the sooner they will become extinct," said a Thai wildlife official. The AP notes that fewer than 3,000 wild elephants remain in Thailand, which also claims about 4,000 domesticated elephants.