Stories

The Truth About Elephant Tourism

 

Only a few days into our week at Elephant Nature Park, Cody and I were chosen amongst a few other volunteers to care for a newborn baby elephant that had been abandoned by his mother.

Hoping for the best

Because his mother had rejected him, he was not receiving mothers milk which meant no anti-bodies. We tried so hard to get him strong and healthy.

There was an animal doctor from India caring for him, as well as vet students, a committed group of longtime employees, and of course Lek, who gave him so much love and positive energy as well.

The Truth about Elephant Tourism

Getting rest

We tried everything to keep him strong and healthy.

We fed him a colostrum formula, massaged him, fanned mosquitos and flies away, used a towel to gently simulate his mothers tail and trunk, made sure he had a blanket under his head as he clumsily swayed back and forth to sleep and finally dropped like a ton of bricks.

Someone was always by his side while he was sleeping to keep him warm, stroke him, and comfort him when his sleep was disturbed.

He was bottle fed, his umbilical chord cleaned daily, eyedrops were administered for his one damaged eye caused by his owners having to drag him away so his mother wouldn’t stomp him to death after being born.

The Truth about Elephant Tourism

Caretakers around the clock

We grew quite attached to baby boy, bottle feeding him, letting him suckle on our thigh, watching him learn how to use his sweet little trunk to pick things up, and falling asleep with him under a mosquito net.

Once our volunteer time at the park was over, we headed back into town missing baby very much. But how quickly things change.

The next day we were asked to return to the park for 3 months to be full-time caretakers for the baby. Cody and I were ecstatic that we were chosen and so honoured.

We rushed back to the park, settled into our new place for our 3 month stay, said hello to a few people, and then headed out to see baby ele. His health was teetering back and forth from weak to strong. No one could predict his future.

I spent 8 hours with him that day from 4pm to midnight, bottle feeding him, giving him his space to explore, cuddling with him before he fell asleep, and making sure he was safe when it was time for him to sleep.

Cody also spent time with him from midnight to 8am.

The Truth about Elephant Tourism

The next day his little body could not fight any longer, he fell into a coma and passed away.

We spent some time with him to say goodbye, and the day after we were invited to his burial that ended with a beautiful Buddhist ceremony.

All of this suffering and heartache could have been prevented if elephants were truly protected and respected, and the breaking of elephants was outlawed.

Baby ele would have been accepted and loved by his mother and they would be living out their natural lives in the jungle.

But instead, his mother was badly beaten and tortured into submission so she could be used and exploited.

The Truth about Elephant Tourism

The saddest show on earth

Elephants are so extremely sensitive. They are emotional beings that form strong family units, only to be torn apart to be used for illegal logging, elephant trekking and entertainment.

They are often drugged so they can work non stop.

While working they can badly injure themselves and damage their feet, but are numb from being drugged. By the time the injury is noticed, It is usually too late to save the injured foot or leg.

Mahouts are then left with a drug addicted, disabled elephant that is no longer of use to them.

The Truth about Elephant Tourism

Help stop this from happening

Elephants have incredible memories and go over the same torture and abuse in their minds repeatedly, and become traumatized.

This happened to baby ele’s grandmother, as well as his mother. It is believed that they both gave birth and killed their babies due to psychological issues and trauma.

Baby ele was saved before his mother could kill her 3rd baby, but he had a very slim chance of making it without his mother.

The Truth about Elephant Tourism

We hope that with this story it will help people to open their eyes to what really happens and what will continue to happen to these beautiful animals if people continue to support elephant trekking and shows.

Your money funds the torture of elephants, and is continuing the cycle of abuse.

Elephants do not paint or perform high wire acts in nature. They are forced to perform, and are beaten into submission if they misbehave.

Please boycott all types of animal entertainment.

Contrary to what you may have heard, animals do not enjoy performing in shows for humans.

The Truth about Elephant Tourism

How beautiful would it be if all elephants could live out their lives naturally and freely?

 

If you would like to experience the true nature of the elephant responsibly and in close proximity, please visit and support the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai province, Thailand, Boon Lot’s Elephant Santuary in Suko thai, Thailand, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya, or any other reputable wildlife reserves, and sanctuaries.

Do your research, be responsible, and protect those who can’t protect themselves.

The Truth about Elephant Tourism

If you would like more information about “Phajjan” (elephant breaking) check out these links.

Warning. Images are graphic.

 

The Phajaan Method of Elephant Training

 

“Think occasionally of the suffering, of which you spare yourself the sight”

~Albert Shweitzer~

Comments To This Entry.
  1. Diana Edelman February 27, 2014 Reply

    So, so sad. Thank you for sharing this. Seeing little baby elephant and you telling his story made me so sad.

    • Giselle and Cody February 27, 2014 Reply

      Hey Diana,

      yes it was a sad day when he left, but who knows what his fate would be had he survived? We hope that this information will inspire people to do more of their own research and educate others about the dark world of animal entertainment.

  2. Jodi Thomas February 27, 2014 Reply

    Great writing you two!!!! Glad you finally got this out… brought me to tears thinking about that little boy again… will share this far and wide…

    • Giselle and Cody February 27, 2014 Reply

      Thanks so much Jodi. This is something that people need to know about.
      Lots of people want to go and ride and elephant but have no idea what goes on in order for them to do that.
      Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Dale February 27, 2014 Reply

    Where as the passing of Baby is sad, what really fills me with joy are the thoughts of everyone at ENP and the two of you making the most of Baby’s time, giving him everything he needed, from feeding to love.

    It’s such a shame that people don’t see past their own personal entertainment when they visit animal attractions anywhere around the world, especially when so many of these animals are seeing themselves endangered because of this stupidity.

    I hope that in my lifetime we see a move towards animal liberation, and strong criminal charges against those who exploit any animal against its will.

    • Giselle and Cody February 27, 2014 Reply

      Dale, everyone who helped was there because we wanted him to feel loved. He was so beautiful and precious and it would have been great if he would have made it. At the same time maybe he would go through all of the same torture that his mother did. The baby did not belong to Lek so chances are he would have had the same life as his mother. 🙁

      We also hope that people will start to do research on what they are supporting when they go to these animal camps. It’s has been going on for so long that it will take time, but slowly people are starting to change.

  4. Maggie Knewstub February 27, 2014 Reply

    A great article about the awful elephant tourism industry, thank you.
    This dear little baby knew love and care, thanks to you guys,what a sad outcome.
    Will pass this on.
    Did this little ele have a name,would like o think he did.

    • Giselle and Cody February 27, 2014 Reply

      Hey Maggie, Thank you for sharing our story. The more people that learn about the awful treatment elephants go though the better. We hope people will start to change and make different choices. The little baby was loved a lot before he passed. He was not named unfortunately. They didn’t want to name him because they didn’t know what his fate would be and everyone would become more attached to him if he had a name. 🙁 He was so sweet.

      • Fara February 27, 2014 Reply

        This just makes me so sad. N mad at the same time. What can we do to stop all abuse. I have signed petions. Spoke up .. what can we do I’m so tried of this broken world n all the upsetting things that should not happen. I know alot of p ppl care but not enough to go that little extra mile that all these babies need. So very sad

        • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014

          Hi Fara,

          You can speak up whenever, and wherever you can. Educate people, and be a voice for those who cannot defend themselves.

  5. Diana Vegan-Field February 27, 2014 Reply

    So deeply saddened at little ele’s passing… :'( You are doing such a wonderful job of bringing these important stories to the public. Educating people so they can be responsible for making compassionate and wise choices from now on! Thank you for all you do! Hoping for the day when ALL animals are free from harm…

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Diana for your support. It’s very important for people to know what they are supporting.
      Many people have no idea what’s going on but it’s time that people do find out.
      We hope to run into you one day while we are on the road and have a huge Vegan feast 🙂

  6. Dale February 27, 2014 Reply

    Hi guys,

    what a moving blog you have made! really makes you think and opens your eyes to what is really behind the scenes.
    from a personal experience, i had a ride of an elephant around 5years ago in south India, at the time it was a marvellous day, i was naive into the industry , but if i had done some research into the place we visited, it would have made me think twice im sure.
    i cannot remember the park we went to as it was organised by a tour group.

    it just saddens me to know that one of the most outstanding creatures on this earth is being denied a fair and worth existence and is subject to such degrading humiliation.

    thank you for opening our eyes.

    lots of love to you both xxx

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Hey Dale,

      So happy we could help to open your eyes, but you’re pretty special, we know how kind you are 😉

  7. Mike Emery February 27, 2014 Reply

    This upsets me a lot. 3 years ago I visited Thailand and yes I was one of those tourists who wanted to ride an elephant. I booked the tour and went to one of the camps outside of Chiang Mai. I watched them paint pictures, throw darts, step over people etc… It then dawned on me that they do not want to be doing this. I was just disgusted watching these animals perform stupid tricks. I then went to where I was suppose to ride the Elephant and I couldn’t do it. I told the guide that I didn’t want to ride and he said “It’s ok, they won’t feel it” I replied with “Yeah but I will for the rest of my life”

    I am so glad that people are starting to make the connection and see this in a different light. These beautiful, majestic creatures are not here for our entertainment. I don’t care what anyone says. Why do I want to watch an elephant perform tricks to make it look more like a human? Thank you so much for the work you are doing and for releasing this blog. Good job!!

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Mike,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and it’s so great that you felt that way while you were there.
      Such beautiful creatures and so loving. We also met a few people while we were at these camps who felt the same way.
      They didn’t like seeing the elephants perform stupid tricks and wanted to leave as soon as possible. Thank you so much for following along and we really appreciate you sharing your experience.

  8. Franca February 27, 2014 Reply

    This makes me so terribly cross, how can people be so cruel? What’s wrong with them? It’s a very sad reality that can be changed, people need to know about this horrible training methods. Elephants are wild animals and belong to their habitat and they cannot be use as attraction. This MUST stop!

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      It is very sad what is going on. The people who are torturing them are only doing it for money.
      I would pay more money to see them in the wild then see them perform. It is much more beautiful watching them in their natural habitat. We agree…..IT MUST STOP!!

  9. Josh February 27, 2014 Reply

    I never saw an elephant show so amazing that is was worth torturing this animal it’s entire life. Or how about the Shamu show at SeaWorld, it was cool for a second, because Orcas are magical creatures but was the show really that great? Or maybe take Tiger Kingdom in Thailand for example, this place cranks out people dying to touch a live tiger but at the expense of drugging that crap out of these cats. I went, it was pretty cool to touch them but once I found out how sedated the animals are, it just wasn’t worth it.

    But I’m learning too that animals don’t have to be as amazing as Orcas, elephants and tigers to be pretty incredible. Cows, pigs, and goats are usually dinnerfare for many of us, and they’re just as cool if you get to know them.

    I think we’re coming to an age where we’re finally beginning to see animals as our equals, that they have all the feelings, emotions, complex abilities that we have. We have a long way to go but animals are not just slabs of meat, they’re not our wall trophies, they’re not here to entertains us and/or to be our slaves either. I guess thats what they call specieism. Something we can all afford to be more concious about.

    I think part of a healthy diet is not supporting any of these animal tourism shows. They come with a price. And Gis & Cody really helped me to understand that perspective too. By the way, so well laid out and well written guys. Thx for doing this and sharing.

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Hey Josh,

      Yes Orcas are so incredibly magical, but more so in their own natural habitat where their dorsel fin is reaching for the sky and they have never ever attacked a single person. And yes all animals are pretty cool, and deserving of a life without pain and suffering. We think you’re right, there is a shift in consciousness happening. Animals are not objects, or products for us to use, abuse, and discard. Thanks for the comment Josh, and we’re happy to call you friend.

  10. Yara Coelho February 27, 2014 Reply

    This post really broke my heart. I can’t understand how and why Humans as a whole became so self centred, so disconnected from everything… I remember accidentally stumbling upon the “elephant beach” in the Andaman islands (India) which was supposed to be a place where elephants were free and having fun by the beach.

    Well, I passed by during the lowest season and what I found out was the most horrific scene of chained animals, some of them rocking back and forth for lack of socialization and interaction with one another. I was so disturbed by this imagine I couldn’t enjoy myself in that paradise beach anymore.

    A few minutes later I see a group of tourists taking photos and posing for facebook,smiling as if they didn’t even noticed the elephant’s feet were bleeding from the chains.

    Sometimes I wonder if some people still have a functioning neuron on their brain or I am the one who is too sensitive….

    And this is not only a problem with Asia, or Africa, this is a global problem. We all know what has been going on in Denmark with the killing of the “useless giraffes”….

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Hey Yara,

      Sorry you had to witness that. We were also in The Andaman Islands and saw the retired elephant. At first we thought about swimming with him, then we thought again, and realized that he was being forced to do what people wanted him to do. It was very sad. We sometimes wonder too about people’s minds. How powerful we can be, yet we choose to follow the masses and not think for ourselves and protect the vulnerable.

  11. Thanks for sharing your sad story and experience, and continuing to raise awareness for this. The first step in creating a change is through education to those who would otherwise not know any better. Most, I fear, do not as the tourism industry often glamourizes riding of elephants. This article helps to shed light on a very real situation here in Thailand and many other parts of the world! Thanks again, guys! Much love 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Hey Ian,
      We hope we’ve been able to educate some people and help them to make the decision to opt out of elephant trekking. There is nothing fun or glamorous about it. We much prefer watching elephants in the wild in Africa. There’s nothing like it. Thanks for the comment 😉

  12. Noor - Desert to Jungle February 27, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for sharing baby Ele’s story. It makes me both sad and angry that people care more about a photo op or a story for their friends back home than they do about the basic welfare and humane treatment of animals. I know some people are genuinely unaware of the suffering but, in the internet age, I think ignorance is less and less of an excuse for condoning animal abuse by going to animal shows/parks/temples etc

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Hey Noor,

      We get frustrated with the selfishness as well. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. People need to start waking up.

  13. Alexander February 28, 2014 Reply

    Goood…. what they are doing with these majestic creatures is f****** disgusting! I swear if I see this in front of me I would have no regrets doing the same with these pathetic excuses for humans! They are just a bad material and should be whipped out!

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Hello Alexander,

      it makes us angry too, but the only way to stop this is to educate people and hope that they care enough to stop participating in, and supporting animal “entertainment” little by little things are changing.

  14. danyelle February 28, 2014 Reply

    the capacity of humans to torture, maim and kill creatures that can’t defend themselves, is astonishing. I despair for the human race. Sadists, murderers and truly evil people far outweigh people who are trying to save these animals… watching these two clips is heartbreaking, especially when you realise how terribly intelligent these gentle giants are.

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Hey Danyelle,

      We know how you feel. It is painful to see the way animals are treated day in and day out, be it for food, entertainment, or fashion. It is painful for us, we can only imagine what kind of hell they are living in.

  15. Vivian Climaco Ocampo February 28, 2014 Reply

    As always it pains me to watch videos about maltreatment of animals, nevertheless, I have to watch so that I can feel the pain and anger that I want to help out by signing petitions and giving out comments. I want to join that crowd of beautiful people who make themselves the voice for the voiceless. I also want to voice my appreciation and praise for the brave people who go out of their way to help and defend animals. May they have more power and influence! good work, Giselle and Cody!

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Hi Vivian,
      Thank you for your appreciation. Please do join the crowd of people being voices for the voiceless. We need as many people as we can get! 🙂

  16. John February 28, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for writing this. In Chiang Mai we asked to go to the “good” camp and got taken to that show anyway. I could feel the sorrow in their eyes and left after about 2 minutes. It is hard to explain to folks why feeding that baby elephant on the KSR is a bad idea. That it is a slave until the food costs are too high for it to be profitable. But you know all this. Thanks again. Safe travels.

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Hey John,
      yes, we did some investigating of our own and were devastated by how many people were so disconnected. Everyone was so involved with getting photos that they didn’t even stop for a moment to really see what the elephants were going through. It is so sad. We can only hope that people are slowly waking up.

  17. sue February 28, 2014 Reply

    Hey Giselle and Cody. This is a fantastic article about cruelty of Elephant tourism. A lot of travellers don’t care and also many who are blissfully unaware the long life of pain and heartbreak these Elephants have in front of them. Hopefully articles like this gets people thinking.

    • Giselle and Cody March 2, 2014 Reply

      Hey Sue, thanks so much. it’s true, many people don’t know what elephants go through, and so we’re here to let them know. Hopefully people will pull their heads out of the sand for more than just elephants though.

  18. Alice March 1, 2014 Reply

    For more information on animal cruelty and what can be done to help, please see here

    http://endtrophyhuntingnow.com/

  19. Angie March 3, 2014 Reply

    This is absolutely heartbreaking, but so important for people to know. Thank-you for getting this information out.

  20. Ayngelina March 6, 2014 Reply

    Definitely sharing this piece on Facebook, people have no idea just how cruely these animals are treated.

    • Giselle and Cody March 6, 2014 Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing Ayngelina.
      People really have no idea how much pain and suffering they are causing by going to these horrible Elephant camps. 🙁

  21. George Blower March 6, 2014 Reply

    I was there roughly at the same time, guys, which in fact is when we first met! Such a good piece of writing, can’t wait to get back out there soon!

    • Giselle and Cody March 6, 2014 Reply

      Thanks so much for commenting George.
      Hopefully you will make it back soon to help the beautiful elephants.
      Maybe we will run into each other again sometime 🙂

  22. Nicole March 6, 2014 Reply

    The poor baby elephant. At least you had a bit of time with him. What a fantastic article, thanks for sharing.

    • Giselle and Cody March 6, 2014 Reply

      Thanks for commenting guys!! This is something that really needs to be shared with people everywhere.
      Need to raise awareness of how they are treated and hopefully it will bring an end to the pain and suffering 🙁

  23. toni March 6, 2014 Reply

    Wow, that brought back some memories, i miss baby ele, but well done highlighting the tourism, i have told everyone i know about it and hopefully it is making a difference, you guys are doing a fantastic job 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody March 6, 2014 Reply

      Must bring back a lot of memories. It just seems like yesterday that we were all hanging out together at the platform chatting about the beautiful baby. Or showing up at 3am to take over the new shift 🙂 Really hope we run into each other again Toni.

  24. God when will people stop going to those STUPID elephant shows! Makes me MAD!!! Grateful that you are sharing your story — information is power.

    • Giselle and Cody March 8, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Raymond. We agree and would love to see these shows shut down.
      It is much more beautiful to watch an Elephant in it’s natural habitat then to watch them painting a picture.
      We hope more of these camps will switch to a more natural way.

  25. Juno March 6, 2014 Reply

    Lek was a keynote speaker at my conference last year, AWE ’13 (http://conference.aweasia.org/). Isn’t she amazing? Everyone in the room cried during her speech. I knew the problem, but it was different when you are hearing it from a person who are living it everyday. Such a great lady. Respect.

    • Giselle and Cody March 8, 2014 Reply

      She is doing some amazing things with Elephants and other animals as well.
      We are very fortunate to have worked along side with her and the baby elephant.
      She is fighting for the rights of animals and doesn’t care who she upsets along the way.
      The animals are the most important thing to her.

  26. Mindy & Ligeia March 7, 2014 Reply

    Such hard things to see, but oh so important to share. Your hearts are made of gold! Thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do 😀

  27. Laura March 8, 2014 Reply

    Such a sad situation. We are planning to go on a brief elephant safari on an upcoming trip to Africa. I think and hope that this is a bit different as there’s definitely no performing involved, and the pack is managed by a wildlife trust. But we will certainly be doing our homework before spending any money. Thanks for reinforcing the need for awareness when making travel decisions.

    • Giselle and Cody March 12, 2014 Reply

      Laura, oh yeah the Elephant Safari will be totally different then the Elephant Shows of Thailand.
      We went on Safari in Tanzania and Kenya and we were able to witness Elephants in their natural habitat.
      It was incredible. Have an amazing time in Africa!!!

  28. Anne Rapp March 8, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for sharing this story and information regarding elephants and their exploitation in the tourism industry. It’s so disheartening to hear the truths behind it all. Quite the opportunity you were gifted – and although it ended sadly, it was a great experience to be so close physically and mentally to little ele.
    I will continue to share this story as well.
    Anne

    • Giselle and Cody March 12, 2014 Reply

      Anne, Thank you so much for sharing our story.
      Many people do not know what they are contributing to and it is up to us to inform them.
      It was very sad to have the beautiful boy pass away but such an incredible experience.
      Falling asleep with him at night and spooning a baby elephant was so beautiful.
      It is something we will never forget.

  29. Alex March 12, 2014 Reply

    Knowledge is power… when I see people participating in elephant tourism I don’t think shame on them… I think shame on us for not spreading the word louder! Kudos to you guys for doing your part.

    • Giselle and Cody March 12, 2014 Reply

      Great point Alex!! It is up to people like us to spread the word.
      How are people going to know if no one tells them? 🙂

  30. Oliver March 31, 2014 Reply

    Stirring piece of writing guys and especially the first images with the wee giant are absolutely wonderful and heartwarming! I adore elephants and was lucky enough to visit a small elephant orphanage while travelling, fulfilling my dream to come close to these sensitive giants, scrubbing their skin with a coconut shell and bathing the animal in a river, guided by a mahout. A phenomenal moment I will remember all my life…
    In general I think it’s a fine line between “preservation facility” and “tourist attraction” and one certainly should do the homework and research these places on the internet before getting a picture of them in person.
    Thank you so much for your insight and appeal as well as the aim to raise awareness when it comes to this exceptional animal and the responsibility of human being in general – no matter if traveller or not…
    Best wishes and keep on keeping on!

    Btw, not sure if you heard about the World Elephant Day before, but maybe worth taking a look: http://worldelephantday.org/

    • Giselle and Cody April 4, 2014 Reply

      Hey Oliver,

      thanks for taking the time to write us. We also adore Elephants, and all other animals as well, and feel they all deserve a life free from harm. We have heard of world elephant day, and we were at the world wide protest for Elephants in Bangkok. It was wonderful to march with thousands of people who felt the same way.

  31. Chad Metz April 7, 2014 Reply

    It’s so sad what humans do in the name of entertainment.

    • Giselle and Cody April 8, 2014 Reply

      It really is sad but the more people realize what is going on, hopefully the more people will change.

  32. Sarah Crawford April 7, 2014 Reply

    Again, I am in tears reading your post. I have also spent time at the ENP, and it is so moving. This story brings me to tears. Do you mind if I share this on my website? I lead trips to Thailand, and we visit the ENP, of course… I am always looking for educational info about why it is SO important to be informed about what dollars support related to animals. I have a hard time writing articles like this because I get so upset. You do a great job of writing about these super upsetting situations. Bless you. My website is http://www.ecoverdetravel.com. Let me know if it would be okay to link to a few of your stories related to eles.

    • Giselle and Cody April 11, 2014 Reply

      Hi Sarah,

      you can absolutely share our blog on your site. The more people who are educated the better!

  33. […] The Truth about Elephant Tourism by Mindful […]

  34. Charlie April 15, 2014 Reply

    This is probably the saddest, and must morally important, blog posts I’ve ever read on a travel blog. It must’ve been really hard for you to write, I imagine… It was certainly difficult to read and I haven’t yet mustered the courage to press play on the videos.

    I saw elephants for the first time last year, in Vietnam. My first feeling was being overwhelmed by their magnificance, but then almost immediately after by a sickening feeling as I realised they were all tied to poles, had metal chairs strapped on their backs and were whacked really hard by their owners to make them carry people. We were sleeping in huts next to where they were kept during the day and it was really sad seeing what long hours they worked and the amount of tourists (mainly Vietnamese actually) who were riding them. We, of course, didn’t and were in the area to go trekking in the National Park. But also, the experience was eye-opening for me and an important one I think.

    • Giselle and Cody April 19, 2014 Reply

      Hey Charlie,

      Thanks for taking the time to write. It wasn’t so difficult to write this post, as it was to experience in person. Humans tend to separate themselves too much from animals forgetting that we too are animals. It then creates a sense of “us” and “them” deeming them less important than us, and making it easier to use them as we please. They may not be human animals, but they are beings that deserve freedom, and a life with no suffering. It is good to hear that your experience was eye opening. We hope you share it with whoever will listen.

  35. […] If you’re interested in reading further, then WorldNomad has a very informative post, as does Mindful Wanderlust (though this one is graphic). If you can’t bear it and need to read something lovely, Angloitalian saw a baby elephant […]

  36. Charlie April 20, 2014 Reply

    Hi guys, I just wrote a post about treatment of elephants and linked to this post at the end of my article as I wanted to share it with my readers too, hope you don’t mind 🙂 http://wp.me/p4iCpW-he

    • Giselle and Cody April 20, 2014 Reply

      Hey Charlie,

      no we don’t mind at all. The more people know about the abusive treatment of any animal, the better.

  37. […] If you’re interested in reading further, then WorldNomad has a very informative post, as does Mindful Wanderlust (though this one is graphic). If you can’t bear it and need to read something lovely, Angloitalian saw a baby elephant […]

  38. Katie May 8, 2014 Reply

    I just stumbled upon this post after a recent visit at Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary. I knew I wanted to spend time with elephants during a trip to Thailand, but was shocked to find out how they are treated. So many tourists have no idea what they are doing. Before we left we had seen some “Phajjan” videos, and I couldn’t get through the first few seconds. Horrifying!

    • Giselle and Cody May 9, 2014 Reply

      Katie, you are absolutely right when you say that tourists have no idea what they are doing.
      So many of them believe that the elephant likes to paint or shoot a basketball into a net or carry 1000 pounds on its back.
      When we tell people what elephants have to go through in order for us to ride them, people are shocked. They have no idea and it’s up to all of us to spread the word and bring elephant and all other sorts of animal tourism to an end.

      How was your time at Boon Lotts?

  39. Elephant Watch Nepal July 17, 2014 Reply

    Elephant Watch Nepal invites readers to learn about the realities behind elephant jungle safaris in Nepal. We just launched a tourism campaign….check out this link:http://elephantwatch.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/ewn-launches-tourism-campaign/

  40. […] blog post that had the most impact, however, was “The Truth About Elephant Tourism” by Giselle at Mindful Wanderlust. I highly recommend you go read this post right now. Giselle […]

  41. […] know about: the impact we Humans have on the world, the Eco-system and animals. Their post “The truth about Elephant tourism” actually made me cry and from that day on, I kept a very close eye on their work, following […]

  42. […] life protection association. Instead of taking elephant rides or going to elephant shows, visit an animal sanctuary that cares and protects these majestic […]

  43. Such a sad story. Thank you for sharing though, it’s important to get the message out about elephant tourism.

    • Giselle and Cody December 16, 2014 Reply

      Thanks so much Grace. You are absolutely right that we must get the message out there.

      So many people have no idea what these elephants go through in order to perform their tricks. It is extremely sad to see how poorly they are treated.

  44. […] do not support the circus, marine parks, monkey shows, tiger temples, elephant riding, or any other kind of animal captivity or […]

  45. Karianne February 14, 2015 Reply

    Such a moving article guys. Thank you for sharing your story. You did such an amazing thing giving little baby Ele the love and affection in the last days of his life, that he would never had otherwise.

    Elephant tourism makes me so angry but I do agree that so many people dont understand why it is so wrong. They don’t know what the elephants go through. As you said, when we told people, they were shocked. The important thing is getting the message out there so tourists understand why it is so wrong. Its all about education. Hopefully, one day, we can stop elephant tourism being profitable and these beautiful creatures will be left to live their lives the way they should.

    • Giselle and Cody February 16, 2015 Reply

      Thank you for reading Karianne. This subject is very close to our hearts after spending so much time around Elephants in Thailand. It’s great to see that there is a change happening and people are starting to wake up and realize that it is wrong to support this sort of entertainment.

      There is nothing beautiful about riding an elephant. It is much more beautiful to see them free.

  46. […] includes, running with the bulls, elephant shows, crocodile farms, tiger temples, ox rides, horse and carriage rides, getting your photo taken with […]

  47. Goni April 20, 2015 Reply

    This is very sad! But thanks a lot for this article, very well written and I completely agree with what you’re writing. It is always a much nicer experience to see animals in the wild than in a cage and I hope more people will realize that soon. I’m in Playa del Carmen right now and here they have many places where you can swim with dolphins – same story, different animal.

    • Giselle and Cody April 22, 2015 Reply

      It is so much more beautiful to see animals in their natural habitat. It is so sad and depressing to see any animal pacing back in forth in a small cage. Breaks our Heart. Same thing in Cuba. Go and swim with dolphins that are in a cage inside the water. How is that exciting…….WAKE UP! So sad.

  48. […] Post to inspire you: The Truth About Elephant Tourism […]

  49. CRISTINA March 23, 2016 Reply

    HI GISELE AND CODY
    I AND MY HUSBAND LOVE ELEPHANTS VERY MUCH. THEY ARE SO SWEET: WHY MANY PEOPLE TREAT THEM SO CRUELTY?
    I ‘D LIKE TO COME TO A B ABY ELEPHANT RESCUE CENTER AND TAKE CARE OF THEM AT LEAST FOR ONE DAY.CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT SHALL WE DO TO MAKE OUR WISH TRUE?
    CRISTINA AND THOMAS CRAIG

    • Giselle and Cody March 24, 2016 Reply

      Hello Christina,

      Thanks for writing.

      In regards to your inquiry about caring for baby elephants, there are no places where you can do that. The baby that we took care of at Elephant Nature Park was abandoned and almost killed by his mother and that was a very rare case. We just happened to be there when he arrived, and we were asked to care for him.

      They don’t take in new born baby elephants which is a good thing. If they did, that would mean that mother elephants are being killed.

      There is however, a place in Kenya called The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust where they take in orphaned baby elephants and raise and rehabilitate them to be returned to the wild. You can do a day visit there, but you cannot stay over night and volunteer longterm.

      https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/

      These babies form strong bonds with their caretakers, and they only have one caretaker the entire time they are there.

      Your best bet would be to visit Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand where you can volunteer with elephants for a week.

      http://www.saveelephant.org

      Hope this helps.

  50. […] at an elephant sanctuary like Elephant Nature Park. Do your research. If you’re allowed to ride the elephant, it’s a place to […]

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