If you’ve always dreamed of riding elephants in Thailand, or you already have, you’re not alone.
Elephants are incredible animals, and spending time with them in person should be a special experience. But not if they are treated cruelly, right?
I can speak for all tourists to Thailand, past and future—we want to experience elephants in a way that does not cause them suffering. Many people have done the elephant rides and treks assuming the elephants are looked after with care and respect. Unfortunately that is not the case.
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of people like Lek Chailert and her team at the humane Elephant Nature Parks in Thailand, we now know that those working elephants are usually put through the painful and inhumane “elephant crush,” a torturous breaking of the will as young calves. Then they are kept in chains for life, controlled with sharp metal bullhooks stabbed into their soft spots.
Fortunately it is possible to change
Lek just announced the exciting news that after three years of trying…
She has convinced a big elephant park to free its 60 elephants from chains and slave work.
Watch the video for the full report. This video is beautiful, and shows one of the elephant parks that Lek runs.
“After three and a half years of trying to convince and invite many elephant camp management teams and the owners of those businesses to change their businesses to be more humane, today I would like to announce the best news of the year,” says Lek.
“The biggest camp of Karnchanaburi (in the) Saiyok district has decided to stop elephant riding and elephant shows in their program,” explains Lek. “Our team will work at the project to help change it to be like the Elephant Nature Park Model.”
This is what working tourist elephants have to do at the Elephant Village in Thailand, with the bullhook always in close range.
What is the Elephant Nature Park model?
They have land and jungle reserved for the free roaming elephants they’ve rescued and rehabilitated. They are looked after and protected by mahouts, volunteers, and tourists. That’s right! The tourists spend time with the elephants in their natural environment, help feed and bathe them, and watch them raising their young.
In full support of their decision to change the business model and treat the elephants with respect and care, we wish them great success, and hope they will prove to other elephant camps that this is the way forward.
Lek adds: “We applaud their soulful decision. I hope that more elephant camps in Thailand will do the same in the near future.” We couldn’t agree more!