Elephants are big business in the regions they are naturally found in such as Africa and Asia. For many locals they provide their livelihood, by way of attracting tourists for rides, doing tricks and even posing for photographs. However research shows that all these take place at the expense of the safety and comfort of these animals.
Tourism and the giants
These are the biggest land animals on earth now and they need to be protected and cared for. They are also very intelligent and have good memories. For some seeing them first time can be a big experience so they will try different ways to make the memory last such as going on a ride or even watching them performing tricks. However what most people need to understand is that elephants are trained to carry you or perform these tricks by way of cruelty and harsh treatment.
With involvement of activists and animal protection organisations many organisations such as chiang mai elephant conservation center have taken an ethical and animal friendly approach to tourisms with these giants. There are many other such places as well. So as a tourist there are some things you can do to make sure you enjoy these animals in the right way.
Look for ways to see the animals in their natural habitat as opposed to a zoo. There is still one place where these giants roam free and that is in Sri Lanka, therefore plan a visit to their natural parks to see them in a heard.
Learn before you visit
Most people visit animal sanctuaries to engage with animals and sometimes they take part in activities such as rides because they love to feel close to the animal but little do they know of how these animals are treated at these venues and how they are trained. So the best way is to first research as much as you can about the place you want to visit. A place that actually cares for animals such as phuket elephant tour will make sure that the animals are free to move about, they will not be chained, there will be no rides or shows where these animals are made to do unnatural tricks, contact with people are kept to a minimum and emphasis is placed on viewing them in their most natural habitat.
Try and look for signs of cruelty
According to many research the cruelest acts on these animals take place at centres that offer rides and make them do tricks. So avoid them altogether do not support or promote them at all. Some other signs of poor treatment of these animals are;
- Limited abilities to move about
- They are kept in short chains
- Poor quality of food provided
- Dirty enclosures
- Too much access to humans
If you see any of these signs, make sure you contact local authorities and inform them about this and make sure to write to others at home about the abusive conditions and publicise the issues so that people get to know what takes place.