We Just Live When and Elephant Riding Is When In A Lifetime Experience
That's a typical excitement coming from tourists who are going to Thailand, India, Indonesia or other Southeast Asian Countries. Who doesn't like elephants? These huge but gentle animals are lovely, wise, and human friendly. Taking smiling pictures while riding on their back is in the check-lists of many travelers.
As an animal lover, I did (note: past tense) not find any issues with elephant riding and in reality I did ride an elephant when I was younger, even though just bare-back riding. After years operating in the wild animal’s conservation field, the truth gradually reveals its unsightly face to me. Information was exposed to me during various rescue works; bits by bits like puzzle pieces waiting to be framed as a larger picture. Poisoned elephant in the wild, elephant skin infection, and images of happy faces riding elephants are somehow linked together. After understanding the facts a luxury travel blog , I recognized that elephant riding is not encouraged any longer. Here are the reasons that:
1. Managing an infant elephant is easier than adult elephants. Obtaining an elephant when they are infants bring more advantages for the owner. They can use the infant's adorable face to beg food and as picture props because they are cute sufficient to be in your picture or in your unique wild birthday party. So how to get an infant elephant? Easy, simply eliminate the mother and buy the infant elephant once it's saved.
All child elephants have to undergo a ritual called 'phajaan', literally implies crush, which is a process to crush the baby elephant's soul to make them submissive to human. The routine involves torturing an infant elephant by a group of individuals where the mahout (elephant keeper) then appears acting kindly to be a 'hero' for the baby. The child elephant will then trust the mahout, thinking he's the only good individual amongst the tormentors.
2. Elephants are not domesticated animals and they will never be as tame as a pet dog or a horse. They still have their wild habits that make them harder to be managed. The technique to conquer them is using sharp metal hooks. It has to be sharp enough to prick their thick skin or else the technique does not work. The elephants will then follow the mahout's order because they are afraid to be struck by the sharp hook.
Last year I treated a female elephant called La Ong Dao who was saved from her owner in Pattaya where she was abused for tourism. People without zoology, biology or veterinary background will quickly agree and ride her because La Ong Dao appears to be very well taken care of, however with a closer look, you can see a number of pus-filled holes on her forehead caused by an elephant hook.
Riding elephants without chairs can be tiring for the rider's legs. The sharp edges of the seats rub the elephant's skin which trigger blister and skin abrasion while they stroll long distance hikes, and eventually leads to skin infection.
If you presume bare-back riding is okay, the response is still no. Naturally, elephants use mud and dirt to cover their backs from sunburn, which serves the very same function of using sun block and clothing in human. No one wants to remain on a filthy muddy elephant, for this reason riding their clean back causes their suffering from sunburn and skin issue.
4. No matter how pricey you are willing to spend for an elephant trip, this amount is never ever enough for the owners and they wish to make as much money as possible by making the elephants work non stop bring limitless tourists on their backs throughout the day and ask for food during the night. Previously this year 2 elephants dropped dead in Vietnam because they were overworked. When you contribute to this type of wildlife exploitation, can you still proudly state your money goes to preservation and regional communities?
However we only live when and elephant riding is when in a lifetime experience!
You know exactly what the funny thing is? The elephants are saying exactly the very same thing. They likewise just live as soon as and what seems to be a fun 'once in a lifetime' experience for you and thousands of travelers out there means a long life torture for them.
If you're a genuine elephant fan, show your love by volunteering at real elephant rescue centers instead of riding them. Remember, real rescue centers do not permit visitors to ride their elephants and they do not chain their elephants.