She warns travellers to avoid anywhere offering riding or allowing bathing sessions with elephants : “In some places this means a lot of people every hour with the elephants in the water – it’s not natural for an elephant to be in the water all day with lots of people climbing all over them.”
3 reputable elephant sanctuaries in Thailand Elephant Nature Park. A rescue and rehabilitation center for elephants , where you can bathe and feed the elephants , plus learn about each animal’s past. Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary. Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand .
A local has two Elephant’s which you can swim with and feed. The cost is 500baht for 20 minutes and well worth it. I recommend this over the elephant trekking any day.
The Phuket Elephant sanctuary is leading the way when it comes to the ethical treatment of retired/rescued elephants . Not only do elephants roam free but they also bathe freely too with the only tourist/ elephant interaction allowed at feeding time.
But the truth is riding elephants should be avoided. In the US, organizations, including the Humane Society of the US and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, are against riding elephants because of the abuse the animals undergo when they are taught to carry people, as well as safety concerns.
The lack of exercise and long hours spent standing on hard surfaces are major contributors to serious foot problems, arthritis, and back injuries. Most captive elephants die decades short of their normal lifespan.
Because it is now illegal to trap and traffic wild elephants in Thailand , some trekking camps breed elephants in captivity to maintain their populations. But even if you turned every elephant currently in captivity loose, there would be nowhere safe for all of them to go.
Just 2,000 of the animals remain in the wild. Prices have exploded with elephants now commanding between 500,000 and two million baht ($17,000 to $67,000 ) per baby, estimates suggest.
Look no further than these responsible elephant sanctuaries that offer a natural and ethical way to see these incredible gentle giants Elephant Nature Park . The Surin Project. Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary. Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital. Elephant Haven. Burm and Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary. Elephants World.
At Elephant Kalim Garden, you can ride on an elephant and take a jungle walk near Patong Beach. Elephant trekking can last between half an hour and one hour. The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket is dubbed as the most ethical elephant sanctuary in Phuket .
Hug Elephant Sanctuary. Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary & Trekking. Kanta Elephant Sanctuary. Elephant Rescue Park. Maerim Elephant Sanctuary. Elephant Valley (Chiang Rai) Bareback Riding at Patara Elephant Farm . Ethical Visit to the Elephant Nature Park .
You cannot ride an elephant on this tour although there are additional tours where you can swim with Bubbles the elephant . The price for the photos is about $300 extra but they literally take hundreds of photos for you.
True sanctuaries never buy, sell, trade, breed, exploit, or profit from elephants . They never use bullhooks or punish elephants in other ways (even out of tourists’ sight), and they don’t force animals who naturally avoid humans into close contact with them.
Elephant crushing, or a training crush, is a method by which wild elephants can be tamed for domestication, using restriction in a cage, sometimes with the use of corporal punishment or negative reinforcement. This practice is condemned by a variety of animal-welfare groups as a form of animal cruelty .
“There are no elephant rides that are ethical ,” she said. “All the elephants that have humans on their back experience stress and pain in their vertebrae. Elephants have evolved to have very strong shoulders and necks, but not for pressure directly on their spines.”