Today I wanted to share with you our magical experience a few months ago when we have visited an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. I have always dreamed to see elephants in the wild and I didn’t want to support nonethical places.
As you may already know, unfortunately, elephants are not always well treated in Asia. There is a dark side in tourism in Asia. Elephants riding center, circus and places that offer elephants painting are abusing animals. These adorable giants, as all the living beings, feel joy, pain, and sadness. They should always be free to live the life they want, like us.
You should decide to boycott these places and visit an ethical elephant sanctuary in Thailand or in other Asian countries. You will help to save the elephants. Indeed, it will help to supports the costs of buying elephants to the circus, feed them and give them medical care.
Also, meeting elephants well treated and free in their natural habitat is the best feeling ever! I have no words for this moment. If you also want to live a magical moment like this and support elephants, read on!
Why you should boycott elephants riding and circus in Asia?
Elephants are abused in Asia
They beat elephants into submission
Unfortunately, elephants are not able to reply to humans’ will and do what humans want naturally. You need to know that if elephants are: dancing, painting or simply have good contact with humans, it is not normal. There is something wrong with this. If elephants are accepting this, it is because they have been beaten into submission. Unfortunately, they take elephants from their mother in the wild at a very young age and then they beat us.
Sadly, more than 3,000 elephants, including babies, are held captive in elephant tourist-attraction “orphanages” and “parks” across Asia. This includes Thailand but also India. And the number is growing, according to new findings from our friends at World Animal Protection. They are beating animals into submission when young and then forced to let travelers take rides on their backs. But also to perform confusing and sometimes painful tricks.
This includes walking on tightropes, balancing on two legs on a small drum, painting pictures, and dancing. But if tourists knew what elephants endured for their vacation photos, they would hit “delete”, on both the pictures and the industry.
They take elephants from their mother in the wild
They take elephants from their mothers and families in the wild when they are babies. Because they have high sale value, not only are babies illegally captured. Their protective mothers are also often killed as they try to save them.
“Training” begins immediately. The babies are tied down and beaten with bullhooks and other instruments designed to inflict pain until their spirits are broken. And they’re willing to obey their “trainers” to avoid pain. Researchers have found that elephants who are subjected to this “breaking” or “crush” process often develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
Also, Elephants in nature live in matriarchal herds in which they forage for fresh vegetation, play, bathe in rivers, and travel many miles a day. Held in captivity, they can move only in small circles in an arena or along a short path. While carrying humans on their backs, even on the hottest days.
They kept elephants in sheds and make them working until death
When they aren’t working, the animals are usually kept in sheds or shacks. Often with concrete floors that damage their legs. And they’re bound by chains that can be so tight they can barely move. Captive elephants are routinely denied nutritious food, adequate water, and needed veterinary care, especially for their feet.
Also, unfortunately, the lack of exercise and long hours spent standing on hard surfaces are major contributors to serious foot problems, arthritis, and back injuries. Most captive elephants die decades short of their normal lifespan.
If you like elephants you should boycott the circus and elephant riding in Asia! Instead of this, you should definitively visit an ethical elephant sanctuary that is respectful to the elephants. You can spend a half-day or a full day with the elephants in their natural habitat. They are adorable and beautiful creatures.
Visit an elephant sanctuary in Thailand
The ethical elephant sanctuaries rescue elephants mistreated and they offer them a place to be free to be an elephant and not an attraction. Elephants are living in their natural habitat. They let the elephants free, treat them well, feed them and give them all the medical care they need.
If you want to meet elephants, go to a sanctuary, you will help them to buy more elephants to circus and elephant riding center. But also to offer to them a better life. The afternoon we have spent there was magical, there are no words to explain how it feels to see elephants free, in their natural habitat. We had the chance to feed them and it was unforgettable. If you want to visit an elephant sanctuary in Phuket, you should visit the Phuket elephant sanctuary.
Don’t bath with elephants
Elephants love to swim, cool off and splash in the water, and to cover themselves with thick mud. They like to do so alone or with fellow elephants. However, if people crowd around or interact with them during this bathing ritual, it becomes stressful for the elephants, preventing them from enjoying their time in the water and displaying their natural behavior.
To give the elephants the privacy they need and to enjoy their day as much as you, we built an Observation Sala overlooking our freshwater pond, from where you can witness the elephants enjoying their bathing time alone or with other elephants. This is a great photo opportunity and educational experience as you can observe the elephants behave naturally.
Ethical sanctuaries don’t offer bathing with elephants. But they can offer interaction between visitors and elephants during a feeding moment as part of the tour. This is a rare opportunity to get up close with the elephants and to capture some incredible photographs as they enjoy a few watermelons, pineapples, bananas or cucumbers.
Make sure to visit en ethical elephant sanctuary
Because public awareness of cruelty to captive elephants has increased, many attractions are trying to dupe tourists. By adding words such as “sanctuary,” “rescue center,” “refuge,” and “retirement facility” to their names. But the abusive training methods and deprivation are often the same. And make the elephants follow the trainers’ commands to let people ride, feed, touch, or bathe them. Be careful when visiting an elephant sanctuary, in Thailand or even in other Asian countries. Please make your own research before!
You are planning to visit an elephant sanctuary in Thailand?
If you are visiting Phuket in Thailand, you can visit Phuket elephant sanctuary. This place is really taking care of the elephants. This is the sanctuary we have visited. If you want to visit an elephant sanctuary in another Asian country do your own researches and ask on forums and groups if this place is ethical.
Let us know in the comments if you have already visited one of these elephant sanctuaries. Also, ff you have more questions feel free to ask! You can also read our post about why you should not ride animals during your travels.