Terrifying Pictures Discourage Tourists From Riding Elephants In Thailand

Terrifying Pictures Discourage Tourists From Riding Elephants In Thailand

Tourists are being urged not to ride elephants in Thailand after horrifying images show the animals being injured for ‘entertainment.’

The heartbreaking photos, shared on Twitter, are thought to be from Phuket, one among the most popular holiday spots for western tourists.

Elephants are seen with blood dripping down their heads as their keepers hit them with sharp metal hooks.

Another devastating picture depicts scars on the back of the animal’s head from old wounds.

The images were initially posted to Twitter by a user named Abang Da Balik in April 2019, but have since gone viral again, drawing comment from officials in the country.

Abang Da Balik/Twitter

Hundreds of thousands of western tourists travel to the country every year, many of them drawn to attractions where they can ride the animals, feed them, and watch them perform tricks. But tourists are being urged not to ride the animals and not to support the businesses who offer these kinds of services.

The World Animal Protection says that about 3,000 elephants are currently being used for entertainment all over Asia, with 77 percent being treated inhumanely.

Thailand, however, is working hard to eliminate animal cruelty, as Dr. Patrapol Maneeorn explains, a Wildlife Veterinarian of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

There are currently 3,500 wild elephants and 4,500 domesticated elephants living in Thailand, though wild elephants are protected under national law, their domesticated counterparts are viewed as working animals.

Dr. Maneeorn is urging tourists to help eradicate the cruelty by boycotting attractions which exploit elephants for entertainment purposes.

The process of turning taming elephants is thought to be as horrifying as the treatment they are subjected to through their ‘work.’

Abang Da Balik/Twitter

Many of the animals in captivity, according to Dr. Maneeorn, are beaten with bullhooks and other sharp objects in a bid to make them behave, only for the abuse to continue while they are in captivity.

Some animals develop a behavior where they sway their head from side to side, often misunderstood as a playful tendency, the movement is a coping mechanism for isolated elephants.

Elephants are heartbreakingly taken from their moms as calves before being forced to endure a lifetime of abuse.

Nevertheless, several sanctuaries in the country are fighting to prevent the mistreatment of animals. At Elephant Valley, the animals can roam as they like and are only fed by humans once a day, as opposed to other captive elephants that are constantly being forced to perform for tourists.


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