Thailand never fails to offer you something amazing with elephants, it also happens to be the national animal of the country. But this case is a bit different and saddening.
We are talking about a video which showed an innocent elephant, chained and helpless, forced to color in a self-portrait. It has naturally attracted the criticism of animal welfare groups from around the world.
Though, it looks cute and pretty, the massive chain around its neck make you wonder and think. The video was filmed on National Elephant Day, which has been around since 1998.
Tourists usually try to get a picture of them either on top of, or at least close to an elephant. But researchers have found that this desire to be close to the African giant is ‘fuelling cruelty’. This isn’t to allege that the nursery in the video is guilty of cruelty, but the industry as a whole needs a lot of work.
Out of the 3,000 elephants surveyed across Asia by World Animal Protection, a whopping three quarters were living in ‘severely cruel conditions’.
Maria Mossman, founder of non-profit group Action for Elephants UK told: “Many parks advertise themselves as sanctuaries but they are not.
“Never go to a park that advertises shows, unnatural behaviour, tricks or painting – and please, never ride an elephant.”
She also mentioned that some parks allow hordes of tourists to film themselves playing with elephants in a watered area.
“In some places this means a lot of people every hour with the elephants in the water – it’s not natural for an elephant to be in the water all day with lots of people climbing all over them,” she said.
In 2016, TripAdvisor announced it was getting rid of any service that offered direct contact with elephants. But that doesn’t stop the millions of tourists being offered experiences by locals when they arrive.
Global Wildlife and veterinary adviser at World Animal Protection, Dr Jan Schmidt-Burbach, told: “The cruel trend of elephants used for rides and shows is growing – we want tourists to know that many of these elephants are taken from their mothers as babies, forced to endure harsh training and suffer poor living conditions throughout their life.”
Meanwhile, the Thai government is looking to end animal abuse in these parks by creating database of all captive elephants to track the animal’s health and make sure they are not suffering.