Elephants’ skeletal structuring is not designed to carry weight on their backs, but rather weight from below. Many Elephants end up with deformed and broken backs as a result of years of long hours spent carrying tourists around. (mahouts.org)
Warning: this is a major bummer.
“I have lived in Thailand almost a year, but I haven’t ridden any elephants…here’s why.” (Video)
Please, please, please, please, please, please, please share. We can end this abuse through tourism awareness.
Source (click for much more).
A bull hook or an elephant goad,
a sharpened goad with a pointed hook, was the main tool for managing an elephant. The ankusha first appeared in India in the 6th-5th century BC and has been used ever since, not only there, but wherever elephants served man.
and it is
“inserted into the elephant’s sensitive skin, either slightly or more deeply, to cause pain and induce the elephant to behave in a certain manner.”
“…After watching this video I immediately searched for an ethical elephant sanctuary. I found this blog post about reputable elephant sanctuaries (taking the author’s word for it). Like you, she mentioned Elephant Nature Park but also Thai Elephant Conservation Center and Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary.
It would be really cool if [we] could band together and make a huge donation to a reputable elephant sanctuary in Thailand….I’ve always planned on visiting Thailand and elephants are my SO’s favorite animal so this just makes me feel sick to my stomach.
Edit: I’m going to add a link to the Save Elephant Foundation which is also a Thai non profit
“If you’re visiting Thailand (particularly Chiang Mai), and want to see some elephants while also supporting a good cause/not support crap like this, I can’t recommend enough checking out Elephant Nature Park. It cost a bit more than the other so called “elephant sanctuaries,” (pretty disgusting that a lot of these places mask themselves behind names like that. Be wary of other places that have a nice sounding name like that. If I remember correctly, Elephant Nature Park is one of only two elephant rescue operations in Thailand. As a general rule, if you see pictures of people riding elephants, AVOID IT) because this place runs on tourist donations.
You spend a full day there learning about this issue, learning the stories behind the elephants that were rescued, feeding the elephants, and bathing the elephants. It was probably my favourite experience of my 2 month trip across Southeast Asia.”
At the elephant nature park: this is what elephants look like when they’re happy.