Is Elephant Tourism A Good Thing?
While elephant tourism can seem like an amazing opportunity, like just getting a chance to ride an elephant would be unbelievable. However behind the scenes in some elephant tourism hotspots, there is a bigger darker story.
Elephant tourism has been rapidly gaining popularity over the past decades, especially in Thailand! Tourists come from far and wide for the opportunity to ride an elephant through the jungle. However, most tourists are unaware of how this kind of tourism is made possible.
Nearly 40% of tourists that visit Thailand say they want to ride an elephant, or they are planning to do so on their trip.
Elephants are not naturally made to be ridden. Baby elephants born in the wild or in captivity are forced to endure a a technique called the phajaan. The phajaan translates to "Crushing" which is done to stop elephants from resisting, and to break their mind and spirit.
These elephants are treated this way on purpose so that they can be broken and used for tourism. This method is cruel and barbaric. So after knowing this would you still want to ride an elephant after knowing the torture it has endured for this to be possible?
It is sad to think that at one point most of these elephants were out in the wild living their natural life up until they were captured, just so that a few humans can make money.
This does not mean that there should be an end to elephant tourism. Like we have mentioned above some areas of elephant tourism are dark and seedy, but other areas are much better and safer for the elephants.There has been a slow increase in the amount of elephant sanctuaries across the globe but this continues to grow. Elephant sanctuaries provide the balance required between tourist needs and elephant needs.
Elephant sanctuaries allow elephants to roam free and continue their normal lives without interruption from humans. Lots of elephants found in elephant sanctuaries are ones that have been saved from the barbaric phajaan camps.
One of our favourite elephant sanctuaries which you can visit for elephant friendly tourism are saveelephant.org.
This organisation allows tourism, where tourists can come down to observe the elephants in their natural habitat in a respectful peaceful way, or even join in helping the volunteers in maintaining and looking after the elephants. This way they are both satisfying the need for elephant tourism and keeping the elephants safe. They are a non profit organisation, every penny they make goes back to the elephants.
We hope you have gathered a more broad understanding of elephant tourism, and how you can support eco-friendly organisations. Please help to spread the word around and help wake people up to the dangers of elephant tourism.
Together we can make a difference.
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