Ethical Elephant Tourism Tip 8:
Do the elephants perform unnatural tricks? 🐘
In an article from @onegreenplanet: “Even if the elephant seems to be performing out of their own free will, if they are doing something that they wouldn’t do in nature: fact check the behavior.” 🐘
Elephants are highly intelligent creatures, so much so, that they recognize themselves in the mirror just like humans. “This self-recognition demonstrates that they are able to see themselves as separate, one of the main traits underlying empathy and complex sociality.”
Elephants in the wild would never do circus tricks, try to ride a bicycle, or paint a painting. ”In the wild, they have dynamic lives and play an integral role in forming their ecosystems.” In the wild eles live social, interesting, and active lives. They also have an ‘elephant-size’ affect on the ecosystem around them, keeping it healthy and creating habitat for other wildlife.
In order for an elephant to learn these tricks, every one has to go through a ‘breaking’ period. A period where they are forced into submission through abuse or starvation. “But while there has been some positive progress for captive elephants in recent years, there is still a long way to go. Elephants are still exploited to perform meaningless tricks for humans, and many in ways unsuspecting tourists don’t know of the immense cruelty behind the scenes. “Cute” elephants on social media can be seen painting, swaying to music, frolicking at the beach, or in unexpected places behaving in unexpected ways. Don’t ignore the “elephant in the room!” Chances are very high that this imagery was obtained because elephants were under duress, in a state of great depression, or shown purely for the amusement of tourists to earn the trainer money. This is NOT about the elephant’s “joy.”
So make sure you do your research before committing to one venue or another with our ready-to-go #ethicalelephanttourismtips or go to our guide https://www.thailandelephants.org/go-to-guide 🐘
Really great article from @onegreenplanet here: