Travel is an excellent opportunity to meet new people, experience different cultures, taste wonderful food and for many people get to see the wildlife that they may have only seen in documentaries and books. While most tourists love to see elephants during travels, many tourists are not aware of the cruelty meted on them through riding. Although most people refer to elephants as domesticated animals, an elephant has never been truly domesticated. Since they are wild animals, it’s very hard to provide them with adequate conditions in captivity.
As compared to other animals, elephants die younger while in captivity. But what usually happens in captivity? While in captivity an elephant is chained so that it can have very limited movements. They are also controlled with sharp hooks and sticks and even forced to perform stressful and natural activities. In these conditions, they often develop behavioral and health problems hence prone to sudden aggression and outbursts towards their handlers thereby leading to fatalities and injuries. It’s, therefore, not advisable to ride on them.
When elephants are young they are usually beaten to make them submissive and then forced and trained to let tourists ride on them and sometimes even perform funny tricks such as dancing, painting pictures, and balancing in two legs. If only travels knew what elephants underwent they won’t dare ride on them. For instance, once they’ve been taken from the wild, training starts immediately. They are usually locked and caned with bullhooks that are designed to cause pain until they are broken and ready to obey. According to studies, elephants who undergo this often develop post-traumatic stress.
More so, these elephants are denied adequate water, nutritious food, and the much-needed health care. The hours spent standing and lack of exercise are usually some of the contributors to arthritis, food problems, and even back injuries. The training that’s required to make them submissive is just like a torture.
Regardless of their size, elephants are not meant to carry people as this can lead to permanent spinal injuries. Apart from their size the weight of the chair attached to their backs may also cause swellings and blisters that can easily get infected. Elephants are just like humans, they have families and friends, they socialize, feel sadness pain, and happiness. It’s due to these reasons that taking good care of them is very important.
There are plenty of Cambodia tour packages available so if you happen to book your trip through a tour guide be sure they promote ethical treatment of elephants.
Overall, elephants need enrichment, stimulation, and the freedom to live the way they want which they can’t get if they are forced to carry people around. If you really love animals you should not ride on the elephants.
Looking for more guides to animal care? Our post on moringa as animal feed may interest you.