Up until recently I had ‘ride an elephant’ on my bucket list. After seeing it on quite a few other lists it seemed like a typical thing that most people wanted to do and a good way to spend time with elephants.
After a bit of research, and the realisation that the places that offer elephant rides do not have the welfare of the elephants at their heart, I have decided to remove it. No matter how fun an experience seems to be, I would never want to see animals suffer.
Instead, I have found a number of alternatives that I’d like to look into further. Let me know if you’ve tried any of them out!
Volunteer at a Sanctuary
There are a number of sanctuaries in Thailand including the Elephant Nature Park, the Wildlife Friends Thailand Foundation (WFFT) and Elephant Worlds. At these parks you can choose to interact with elephants that have been rescued from the tourism and illegal logging industries where they have been treated poorly, instead knowing that they are now being well cared for.
Habitats are being destroyed worldwide. By helping to protect natural places elephants are able keep on living in them and to return to them once they have been rehabilitated at a sanctuary. One way to get involved is through a Forest Restoration project.
There are plenty of charities dedicated to helping elephants escape poor treatment. Donating what you can to places like the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust helps to support the care of orphaned and endangered species and their habitats.
Try something else!
There’s so much to do in the world so if you’re unsure what harm you will be doing undertaking one activity, look into doing another!
For more info on how to have an animal friendly holiday check out World Animal Protection’s blog post here.