Why don’t we do an elephant ride?
You are going on a trip to Asia, it’s time to relax and enjoy your holidays. It’s so good to feel the warmth, to see all these temples, people smiling, take a tuk tuk…Oh ! Look honey ! What a gorgeous elephant, it’s impressive! Why not going for a little ride on his back ? Yes, why ?
Sometimes, there are things we don’t know, and sometimes our ignorance make us behave ourselves in a way which causes sufferings around us. The point of this article is to help as many people as possible to make choices of entertainment with full knowledge of the facts.
-In order to entertain tourists who think they love animals, an elephant had to be in many cases tortured. The old ways of “taming” an elephant are the following : the baby elephant, often taken by force in the wild (for one captured calf, it often means several adults are killed…) or born in captivity, is separated from his mother way too soon. After that, it is completely isolated and deprived of food and water. The young elephant is then beaten on a daily basis and electrocuted, until it becomes so traumatized and frightened that its wild soul is completely broken, and it has an overwhelming fear of humans. If it was lucky to get out of this 'step', during which the elephant can die, it is the beginning of a long life of slavery. Trainers, or rather torturers, will use throughout its life a tool called 'goad', which is a kind of axe, to remind it those traumatic moments.
-During its entire life of slavery, the elephant won’t be able to behave freely and naturally. He won’t be able to eat 18 hours a day, to interact with its kind, to have fun like wild elephants do.
Many trained elephants are given drugs so they can endure long sessions of entertainment for tourists. Trained elephants develop many physical and mental pathologies. Their longevity, which is normally comparable to human’s, can be divided by two in captivity.
-The Asian elephants are an endangered species, close to extinction. The capture of wild elephants to domesticate them is a real threat to their survival.
Now you can no longer ignore that riding on an elephant's back is a form of contribution to their abuse and their extinction.
If you want to meet domestic elephants (without riding them !) in an ethical way, you can go to an elephant shelter and spend a few days among these incredible beings in a natural habitat. In our view, the more responsible way is to go to a non-profit structure which tries to save elephants who have experienced abuses and which does not take part in the industry of mass tourism.
We know well the BLES sanctuary in Thailand where an amazing team of passionate people is teaching mistreated elephants to be... simply elephants ! Here is the link to their Facebook page:
And here are the video / photo reports and article we made about them: