A visitor’s guide to ethical elephant sanctuaries in Thailand

If you’re a vacationer, a trip to Thailand is incomplete without seeing the country’s extraordinary elephants. These majestic animals have been an integral part of Thailand’s tradition and historical past, used for quite lots of purposes similar to for transportation, war, logging (in the timber industry), and now tourism. Currently, there are round three,500 – four,000 captive elephants in Thailand. Wild elephant numbers range from three,000 – 3,700, with declining inhabitants numbers every year.
In latest instances, world awareness relating to animal abuse has increased and plenty of have expressed considerations relating to elephant remedy within the tourism trade. Therefore, in Thailand, an growing variety of individuals are looking for to go to elephant sanctuaries that promote ethical practices.
Whilst elephants have been Thailand’s nationwide animal, symbol, and satisfaction, there have been many cases of abuse of those treasured animals. You may have seen instances concerning the horrific treatment of elephants circulating across the web, such because the one beneath:
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From a young age, people acquire control of elephants via “crushing” or “breaking-in” using inhumane methods such as tying elephants down with ropes and chains, whipping them, poking them with bull-hooks, and stabbing them with nails. This is to force the elephants to do numerous vacationer activities such as painting with their trunks and performing circus methods, all of which are very unnatural.
However, tendencies are changing as COVID-19 has led to constructive developments within the elephant tourism industry; elephant leisure venues were forced to shut down because of the lack of vacationers. Due to the excessive costs of taking good care of the elephants, many were given away to sanctuaries as owners could now not handle masking daily expenses.
Prior to delving into the methods of choosing an ethical sanctuary, it’s key to pinpoint what the time period “ethical” represents. In this context, ethical sanctuaries supply a house for animals without taking benefit and harming them. These forms of shelters dedicate their efforts to conservation duties, rescue missions, and rehabilitation plans. They strictly keep away from employing elephants for visitor amusement, rides, or any other actions thought-about to be manipulative.
The key element to focus on is ensuring your experiences don’t compromise the welfare of the elephants. To assist determine animal welfare, World Animal Protection recognized 5 domains to help accomplish that: diet, setting, health, behaviour, and mental state.
Prior to booking a go to, it’s necessary to conduct some on-line analysis about the elephant sanctuary you’re planning to go to in Thailand. Confirm whether or not it’s associated with any conservation initiatives, and lookup feedback or rankings from past visitors. Be careful of sanctuaries that promote elephant exhibits and experience experiences.
Sanctuaries that operate underneath ethical requirements might be open about their procedures. They will disclose the origins of the elephants, methods for their care, and herding strategies.
Ethical elephant sanctuaries typically place restrictions on human-elephant interactions. They prohibit actions such as elephant rides and staged shows that may significantly distress the elephants. Rather, visitors may be given the opportunity to help caretakers in feeding these majestic creatures or watch them from a protected distance.
Check whether or not the sanctuary employs certified veterinarians who take care of the elephants’ health. Regular health check-ups ought to be a part of the program.
Ensure that the elephants have access to a pure setting with the liberty to wander, immerse themselves in water, feed on vegetation, and interact with their fellow species. Do they attempt to replicate an actual elephant habitat? Are the elephants chained up and is their mobility limited?
Numerous verified, moral elephant sanctuaries exist throughout Thailand – there might be a lot to discover. Even although this list will focus on five, there are a plethora of choices, so make certain to do your own analysis (and make your personal judgement) as well.
Founded in 2011, Burm and Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary (BEES) in Thailand is a community-based initiative dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of elephants from harsh circumstances. BEES, house to numerous animals including dogs, cats, cows and elephants, promotes moral eco-tourism and sustainable development via native employment and neighborhood projects. The sanctuary advocates for a world the place animals live without worry, urging responsible journey. Quoting from their web site: “BEES are a place the place humans now work for them (the animals).”
Location: 34 หมู่ 1, Tambon Chang Keung, Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai 50270
The Somboon Legacy Foundation is an elephant sanctuary founded in 2019, which is concentrated on creating an surroundings where elephants can stay freely and naturally. Adopting a hands-off approach, this permits the elephants to exist in their natural social groups. Their primary goal isn’t solely rescue and protect elephants, but in addition to offer schooling about moral elephant tourism of their interactive elephant museum.
Location: 129, Klon Do, Danmakamtia, Kanchanaburi 71260
Prioritising the welfare of its elephants, the sanctuary of Samui Elephant Kingdom presents unique experiences for its patrons, such as having workshops to make and feed high-nutrition power balls to the elephants. Strong pointers have been established within the sanctuary, like the deterrent of loud noises, to keep up a stress-free atmosphere for the elephants. Above all, the dominion adopts a mixture of compassion and positive reinforcement for elephant care and upholds the globally accepted ‘5 Freedoms for Animals’.
Location: 25/11 Moo 2, Namuang, Surat Thani 84140
WFFT Elephant Refuge in Thailand, a chain-free elephant sanctuary, is a challenge under the Wildlife Friends Foundations Thailand. The basis presents giant, naturalistic enclosures for the elephants to explore and socialise and provides a home for beforehand abused elephants, a lot of whom had been exploited within the trekking and logging industries. WFFT operates purely on donations and the exhausting work of volunteers, who make certain the day by day care of the elephants, and they also seek support through donations, visitations, or volunteering alternatives.
Location: 108 Tambon Thamairuak, Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi 76130
Opening back in 2016, Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a famend refuge for retired and rescued elephants in Thailand. Endorsed by National Geographic, this sanctuary serves as a natural residence for abused and overworked elephants from the tourism and logging industries. The haven is committed to the highest ethical standards, making certain the elephants are nurtured in a secure and sustainable setting. Popular with tourists, the park presents guests a possibility to observe these peaceful animals in their habitat, educating them concerning the plight of Asian elephants.
Painless : a hundred, Moo 2, Paklok, Thalang, 83110
When you determine to discover sanctuaries identified for their ethical remedy of elephants, you bring positivity to their natural settings while aiding in preservation efforts. As a traveler, your go to turns into meaningful if the sanctuaries you decide are committed to sustaining the dignity, safety, and overall health of Thailand’s wonderful elephants..

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