Just got back from Thailand, where I refused to ride the elephants like most tourists do. I respect and love them and don’t feel.like they should be forced to work like the rest of us.
Vetoed elephant shirt
The elephant situation in Thailand is so tricky. Many places still offer rides for better money from travelers but the majority of Thai people adore elephants and wouldn’t ever want to harm one. Greed is a powerful thing. I was in a minibus with an older couple from New Zealand and when I heard they were going to ride elephants that day I politely spoke up and told them the horrors elephants go through for their enjoyment. I was on month 10 in Southeast Asia so I was pretty well informed on the situation and what’s goes on. They told me to stop ruining their vacation. I responded ‘the elephants don’t get a vacation and your willful ignorance is no excuse now’. Some people are just A-holes no matter what you do! Vetoed elephant.
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Many are rescued and taken to legitimate sanctuaries. Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai is an example of a true sanctuary in Thailand. They rescue elephants from the tourism industry as well as the logging industry. You can volunteer there to help take care of the elephants. It’s quite an experience. It takes a lot of money to rescue these elephants and take care of them. Many are crippled due to the abuse they’ve been through.