I don’t think people quite understand the difference between an Elephant Riding Camp and an Elephant Sanctuary. This article will teach you why you should not visit an elephant riding camp, and what you should be supporting instead.
What is an Elephant Riding Camp?
An elephant riding camp is where places will take babies away from their parents from birth and start training them when they are less than one years old. The very basic training is teaching them how to go forward, backwards, left and right. How they do this is by taking a poker stick and poking it into they’re skull, breaking skin every single time.
The baby elephant will constantly cry out in pain, much the same as a baby human would. They have to take it away from its parents because if they didn’t, the parents would have no problem defending their young and going after the human torturer.
The riding camp will use a noose around the baby’s neck (a rope that automatically tightens when you fall). This is so that when the purposefully under feed baby gets tired and falls down or lays down it will be forced to stand back up. Teaching it to only be done when the trainer says she is done.
This is just the BASIC training. Can you imagine what it would take to get them to do more tricks?
This is why Elephant sanctuaries have started to become a bigger thing. They are companies that rescue elephants from places like this and give them a safe life full of grazing, bathing, and playing with other elephants in a large piece of land where they are also safe from predators they may have lost the instinct to defend against.
If you get a chance to visit Chiang Mai, I would highly recommend going to an elephant sanctuary. It was by far one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. To read about my experience at a sanctuary, check out my post here.
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