PATTAYA – A one year-old baby elephant allegedly collapsed with exhaustion while being tethered to its mother who was giving rides to tourists at a venue in Pattaya, Thailand last week.
The calf was tied to its mother’s neck with a rope and the incident was reported by a tourist taking rides on the back of it’s mother.
A video clip shared on twitter show the little elephant walking on a tar road by his mother’s side, tied to her neck.
Elephant calf ‘collapses with exhaustion’ while tied to its mother giving rides to tourists in Thailand. It’s heartbreaking to see that the tourists don’t care any more than the elephant’s owners. Sam 💔🤬https://t.co/sPXkGSmZRP
— Xpose Trophy Hunting (@XposeTrophyHunt) May 23, 2019
One tourist, a Filipino who works as a teacher in Myanmar, was on a holiday with friends in Pattaya said “The baby elephant was so exhausted, and you can see the mother comforting and encouraging her to stand.”
She said she feels concerned for the gentle giants and wants to make sure they are taken care of.
A spokesperson at the venue told the Daily Mail that the elephant was neither tired or mistreated.
“All of the elephants are healthy and treated very well. If there is a problem they are treated by vets. All of the babies here are very healthy and loved” the spokesperson said.
Elephant Ride Controversy
Riding an elephant might be an enjoyable trip for tourists but for the animal, Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, senior wildlife and veterinary at World Animal Protection says. “Tourists may think activities like riding an elephant do no harm, but the brutal truth is that breaking these animals’ spirits to the point that they allow humans to interact with them involves cruelty at every turn,” he said.
“The elephants give rides and perform tricks without harming people only because they’ve been ‘broken’ as babies and taught to fear the bullhook,” said an investigation on National Geographic.
Poachers capture wild elephants in various ways—one method called the “pit trap” has an elephant herd pushed into a corridor where a pit is dug. This is done using a domesticated elephant.
Usually, a calf falls into the pit and the poachers use automatic weapons to kills the adults and capture the young ones. The body parts of killed adults are sold for profit.
The market value of a baby elephant is $33,000, according to Dodo. “One of the main threats to elephants in their main remaining habitat blocks in Thailand is … the illegal captures for the trade in live elephants,” Simon Hedges, co-chair of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group reports.
Since capturing and training elephants for tourism purposes involves such illegal and cruel processes, wildlife activists say it is an ethical question to enjoy their rides.
“When you see a captive wild animal on your holiday, you often can’t see the cruelty,” said Schmidt-Burbach.
“It’s hidden from view and it’s important to remember that a captive wild animal in the entertainment industry can never truly experience a life free from suffering and cruelty.”
By Venus Upadhayaya