Elephants are among the most wonderful creatures on earth. Powerful, massive, and highly intelligent, they are a source of admiration and awe for most of us. Yet, as strong as they are, they are gentle souls with a beautifully peaceful nature.
Many people dream of meeting an elephant close up and some will even live that dream by interacting with elephants at facilities where they can ride, bathe or even paint an elephant. But behind these seemingly magical experiences lurks a truth that is unthinkable and tragic beyond words. The elephant tourism industry is rife with cruelty, abuse, and neglect in many forms. Elephants that are exploited for profit have, without exception, been beaten into submission by cruel "mahouts" or elephant keepers. Their shackles and restraints are designed to inflict unbearable pain if the elephant resists. Often, the restraints cause wounds and infections. Because the wounds are rarely treated, long term pain is often the result. Walking on pavement for extended periods of time cause chronic foot pain and injury for more than half of elephants that we see in the cities.
Elephants are often malnourished in the constant battle to keep expenses low and profits high. They are fed unhealthy foods and are usually in a constant state of hunger. Lack of socialization leads these beautiful creature to become depressed. Most elephants in captivity display neurotic behaviours and signs of extreme stress.
Elephants have no natural desire to perform and to interact with humans. They do this simply because they have been taught that this is the only way to avoid torture and cruelty that is inevitable if they disobey. Even seemingly harmless activities like riding on the back of one of these great beasts, for the elephants, can only be associated with painful training.
This wonderful sanctuary in Agra, India has provided many elephants and other animals with a safe home and a second chance at life. WildlifeSOS has ample land for the elephants to wander, pools for them to splash and bathe, a fresh supply of nutritious food, and a veterinarian and skilled medical team to take care of their wounds and health conditions that have been brought on by years of mistreatment. Their state of the art hospital is equipped to manage the unique needs of such massive patients.
You can help end the abuse. Refuse to ride elephants. Refuse to support any industry that keeps elephants captive. And most importantly, please visit WildlifeSOS.org to find out more. Contributions to this facility will go to good use for feeding, housing, and caring for these gentle souls.