Elephants’ role in Thailand
For many years, elephants have had a prominent presence in Thailand for a multitude of reasons. One being that they serve to be an important part of the tourist experience, where people can ride an elephant, feed one, and play with them. Elephants slowly but surely became a critical part of the tourism in Thailand, so much so that it brought in very good business to the country.
Unfortunate mistreatment of elephants
But there is so much more to what meets the eye. Elephants are mistreated, mishandled, and misinterpreted by tourists and locals alike. It turns out that majority of the elephant parks abuse and mistreat the animals – all of which is not shown on camera. Additionally, elephant riding is not beneficial for the growth of these mammals – it inhibits their growth and development.
The case for change
All in all, the need for change is growing. More people are coming to realize the mistreatment of these animals in the tourism sector. Change needs to take place in order for these mammals to be treated more humanely. Luckily, organizations and some responsible parks are taking action to change the system around elephant tourism.
Raising consciousness about elephants
There is so much the public does not know about elephants and the tourism around it. We as a public should be more aware and conscious of how we come to understand and interact with these beautiful animals.
Questions about elephant tourism to discuss on Ohlelo:
- How might elephants be treated in places where there is not a lot of reinforcement/legal restrictions?
- What are some ways in which people can be more informed about elephant tourism?
- How can tourists themselves be more aware and cognizant of the mistreatment of elephants in the parks?
- What did you find most shocking about elephants in Thailand?
- What other countries have cultural links with species that affect conservation?