Elephants are majestic and beautiful animals. They are gentle and peaceful giants with personalities that have captured our hearts. Watching them enjoy a peaceful bath in this river warms the heart. These are truly elephants as they should be.
Tourists from around the world travel to India and Thailand to visit with these incredible beasts and to interact with them. Looking into the eyes of an elephant, or touching one is an experience that will be remembered forever.
But sadly, what lies behind the elephant tourism industry is a world of cruelty and abuse that is possibly unmatched anywhere in the world. These gentle souls are beaten into submission to perform tricks for shows. They are shackled with painful devices to make them compliant. And their spirits are broken, without exception, to make them safe for tourists to ride.
Interacting with elephants, and especially riding on them is a very unnatural behaviour for the elephants. The only way they will tolerate this is through fear and domination. For this reason, visiting facilities that allow these kinds of experiences will only support the cruelty and suffering that comes with them.
Studies in India have found that more than half of elephants in captivity suffer from untreated injuries, infections, and disease. Almost every elephant that is forced to walk on pavement suffers from foot conditions that are left untreated.
But fortunately, sanctuaries such as WildlifeSOS in Agra, India are doing what they can to rehome the elephants and provide them with a second chance at life. The elephants receive veterinary care, proper nutrition, adequate space to roam, mental stimulation, and most importantly, kindness. They are forgiving animals that have learned to trust their new keepers. Elephants deserve this second life as much as any animal on earth.
Please visit WildlifeSOS.org and see how you can help support this beautiful sanctuary.