6 July 2017
The use of individual elephants in tourism experiences is on the rise according to a new report. Hundreds of attractions across Asia offer tourists the opportunity to ride and interact with captive elephants, with many kept in appalling conditions and subject to severe training and abuse.
Daniel Turner, Associate Director for Tourism at Born Free said, “Riding an elephant still features on many people’s bucket list when visiting Asia and, more recently, Africa. While some may consider riding on top of the largest land mammal to be a cultural experience that holds an air of romance, few recognise that this practice actually significantly compromises the welfare of these magnificent animals and potentially places people at risk. Riding or interacting with captive elephants, swimming with dolphins, walking with lions, or cuddling a tiger cub for a photo – these are just some of the many worrying tourism excursions and activities involving animals. All can impact on the welfare of the animals involved, and risk people’s safety.”
Turner continued, “The Born Free Foundation provides guidance and advice to travel businesses to help them make informed animal-friendly choices, to establish higher animal welfare standards and to end practices that are known to severely compromise the welfare and survival of animals.”
This year, Born Free is working with travel businesses in Thailand to influence higher standards in elephant care, and encourage a phasing out of the activities that severely threaten the welfare of the animals and the safety of the public.