Ride of an Elephant

Ride of an Elephant

It seems beautiful, an encounter with an elephant.
Even if the elephant is in chains, doing tricks or ‘free’ in a so-called sanctuary where they are still used for entertainment.

Open your eyes and know that your dream is about meeting a wild elephant that connects to you. A réal one.

The elephants we see on holiday in Cambodia, Thailand and so on, are sadly no elephants any longer. They are hurt and damaged so much, that they lose their own being. Of course there are still some living in the wild, but it is only a matter of time they are taken for entertainment. They will be put in zoos (yes, also the one in your country), used in circuses or used for other entertainment like elephant rides.

But what is the problem with the elephant rides? First off, nobody can climb a real elephant on the back and walk around with them. So to ‘tame’ them they bind them up and torture them with hooks and other tools, until their soul/being is completely destroyed.
Mostly this happens with babies, but enough grown elephants are still tortured daily so you can pet them on their trunk or ride on their backs. Check the video at the end of this article about this subject.

But next to that is the ride itself hurting the elephant. The weight of the seats/carriage is much more than their backs can take and it damages the skin underneath it. And with one, two, even three persons it is unbearable for the poor animal to carry. And still, it does.
Carol Buckley, an American animal trainer, specializing in the trauma recovery and on-going physical care of captive elephants, tells us the following: “Elephants are not anatomically designed to carry weight on their back. They have evolved to support a mass amount of weight suspended below their spine. When you examine this skeleton you clearly see the spine is not like many mammals. Instead of smooth, round spinal disks, elephants have sharp bony protrusions that extend upwards from their spine. These bony protrusions and the tissue protecting them are vulnerable to weight and pressure coming from above.”


The fact that more and more people know about this cruelty in entertainment, creates a lot of ‘sanctuaries’ that have actually the same cruel background as these rides have. They will tell you they ‘saved’ the elephants but in real life most of these ‘sanctuaries’ trade elephants and buy them to earn some money. Tourists will think the elephants have a wonderful life, with their couple of meters extra to walk and the nature surrounding it. But the parcs still let tourists be in contact with the animals and even let them bath the elephants or feed them. This contact is still stressful and the only goal the sanctuary must have is to prepare the elephants to be back in the wild again, or in a reservation where they can live similarly as wild. Many tourists think that the money will get the elephants the care they need, while they actually fund the parc buying new elephants from the wild.
Remember the fake orphanages that buy children which are trafficked and let tourists fund them? This is the same thing. Because tourists want to do good nowadays, they set up a place to let people think they are actually funding something fair.
Just think to yourself, what is natural? What is logical? This all is not.

So check the ins and outs first, before you decide to visit a sanctuary. The less contact you can have, the better. If you just came out of a traumatic life, would you want to be visited and touched by groups of strange people every day?

What can you do when you see this cruelty? Contact an animal welfare group near your location and most importantly: spread the word.
Choose to NOT ignore the damages of tourism.

Video about the dark side of tourism and the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
NL – Informatie vanuit Vrienden van de Olifant over het ‘leven’ van olifanten in de toeristenindustrie
NL – Informatie op World Animal Protection over wilde dieren in entertainment en lees meer over de campagne Wildlife-Not Entertainers

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