When a tourist books a trip to Thailand, riding an elephant is usually on their to-do list. Upon their arrival, it’s hard not to notice the numerous fliers and signs advertising these “once in a lifetime” rides, but there are more than a few reasons why we should all rethink going on an elephant ride.
If you’re an animal lover, you’ll be scratching “ride an elephant in Thailand” off your bucket list as soon as you read these reasons against this kind of excursion.
1. It Can Be Dangerous
Riding on the back of any wild animal has its risks, especially when it comes to elephants. What can start out as a dream vacation can turn into tragedy when you’re dealing with an animal who is tired, hasn’t been fed properly, and is being treated inhumanely. Many tourists have been tossed from elephants’ backs during these rides. Some survive with minor cuts and bruises, while others are mauled and trampled to death.
In February 2016, a 36-year-old Scottish tourist was shaken off an elephant’s back and then gored to death by the animal’s tusks, while his teenage daughter watched in horror.
2. Deadly Elephants Are Still Working
Even after a violent incident occurs, deadly elephants are unlikely to be removed from service. Many elephants are given a break for a few days to a few weeks before they are put back to work to make money for their owners. Thailand doesn’t have strict regulations when it comes to offending elephants being allowed to come in contact with tourists, so riding one without knowing the animal’s background and history can definitely put your life in danger.