However, there is always some darkness even in the light. Similar is the case with Elephant tourism or trekking which we will need to be aware of. Because not everything we see is the right thing to see, right? There’s always a hidden side.
Alright, so let’s start. Asian Elephants are endangered species and there are less than 2000 wild elephants living in Thailand, especially. The population is indeed declining due to the loss of habitat. Illegal trade of elephants for the purpose of Tourism is also a huge issue. Foreign visitors like us, just want to ride the elephants or watch them do tricks by paying a good amount of money.
But the fact here is, that wild animals need to be tamed before they can be ridden. The taming process in Southeast Asia is horrible. It’s much more brutal than we can think of. Wild elephants will never let humans even come closer to them, forget about riding them. So, in order to tame an elephant as a baby, we need to completely break its spirits. This is well-known to be a process called Phajaan or “the crush”. This process is cruel. It involves ripping baby elephants away from their moms and are confined in a small space in the ground where they are unable to move. These cute baby creatures are then beaten with clubs and pierced with bull-hooks and are simultaneously starved and left for sleep deprived for a couple of days.
Elephant mistreatment just doesn’t stop after the taming process. Many elephants are still tortured until they fear of being stabbed which is what motivates them to work then. But, elephants do not forget. So you never know what the elephant might end up doing to you even after its being tamed.
Did you know that riding elephants can actually cause serious long-term harm to them? Their spines cannot support the weight of humans. I know it’s strange by looking at its size. But, that’s the truth.
So, now you know why it’s not good to ride elephants in Thailand?
SAVE THE ELEPHANTS
You know there is always a guiding light in the dark side of life? Similarly, there are people still alive who actually care. Lek Chailert – The founder of The Elephant Nature Park is someone who is like a light in the dark for the elephants. She has been wanting to change the acceptance of the treatments of the elephants, from the tourists since years and give them a really better life.
This nature park allows volunteers an opportunity to interact with the elephants and learn about the elephants in a more responsible way. It is a registered non-profit foundation so the fees collected is well invested in feeding and caring of elephants and expanding their sanctuary.
You won’t find any elephant rides in this park. There is no circus or elephant paintings here either. It’s just pure interaction with the elephants.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you, whether you ride the elephants in Thailand or no. While most of us remained unaware of the fact on how they are treated. We hope this article helped changing your perspective.