Nepal is home to some 150 wild elephants while 208 live in captivity. In Chitwan alone there are 155 captive elephants. Most of the 155 working elephants are in hands of private owners. Often elephants are smuggled from India and sold to private owners for 60-70,000 Nepali Rupees (equivalent USD 700-800).
Elephants are mainly used to cater tourists for elephant safari through National Park. 129 private and 90 government elephant mahouts do handling of elephants in Chitwan.
Elephant stable, Hattisar Soura, is the government run stable with 16 elephants and 30 handlers. Mahouts in this stable are government employees. Among mahouts there are also two female handlers. The stable caters mainly tourists for safari in Chitwan national park. Elephant handlers live in compound with very basic facilities. With the wages not exceeding USD 15 per month, mahouts and their families live on the brink of existence.