25 Feb 2015

The Truth Behind Elephant Rides in Thailand

Throughout Thailand, there are countless elephant tourist parks and camps. The vast majority of these camps are commercial enterprises, making huge amounts of money from tourists keen to have their photos taken with elephant calves, bathing with the elephants or riding them, or watching them paint. Some elephants are used in performances, dressed up and forced to perform unnatural, painful and demeaning tricks.


The sad and devastating reality is that this tourist-driven demand is fuelling a huge and unsustainable illegal trade in baby elephants. Recent reports indicate that at least 50-100 calves and young females are removed from their forest homes in Burma every year and are illegally traded to supply tourist camps in Thailand. It is estimated that for every calf smuggled across Burma's border into Thailand, up to five adult elephants, including the calf's mother and other protective family members, are killed.

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