Unfortunately, elephants are one of Thailand’s most mistreated animals. If you visit somewhere that offers elephant rides or makes them perform in an unnatural way, then you are most likely supporting a cruel practice. Elephants are often taken away from their mothers, abused until their spirits are broken, and tied up using short chains in these facilities. However, not everywhere is like this. There are genuine elephant sanctuaries that exist and here are some tips on how to ensure that the center you visit is ethical.
For a healthy lifestyle, an elephant’s diet needs to consist of a rich variety of foods to keep them fit and strong. Being able to feed these majestic animals is usually an experience enjoyed by visitors. Feeding the elephants their favorite treats is great for the both of you, but a reputable sanctuary will allow the elephants access to an area of forest where they can roam freely, forage, and eat the food they would have naturally as well as being able to enjoy tasty treats from the tourists.
Again, this seems obvious, but fresh water is necessary for elephants to drink. However, they also need to access water, so they can bathe, which is important for their skin health. In a proper sanctuary, there will be a large body of water, such as a river, for the elephants to play, swim, and bathe in. The water is also used by the animals to cool themselves down. Giving an elephant a bath is of ten an experience on offer to visitors.
Interaction with Each Other
In the wild, elephants live in large groups. Due to being highly social, it is very important for these animals to live with each other. An ethical elephant Thailand sanctuary will give the elephants all the time they need to socialize with each other and exhibit all of their natural behaviors whenever they want to.
Space and Shelter
Due to their size and a desire to roam where they please, a real sanctuary will have enough space to allow the elephants plenty of room to move around. Previously, we mentioned access to an area consisting of forest that’s great for foraging, but it is also perfect for providing shade. Where this isn’t an option, there will need to be some form of man-made shelter consisting of natural materials for the elephants to access, so they can escape the high temperatures of Thailand.
How They’re Handled
Mahouts are the people who work closely with the elephants and they are vital to the welfare of domesticated elephants. The mahouts employed by a reliable sanctuary will have a lot of experience, understand how to make sure the elephant’s happiness is ensured and they will treat them with the utmost respect. The employers of the mahouts will also be respectful. If the staff are respected, then it is likely that the animals will be too.
You don’t have to be guilty about getting up-close and personal with an elephant, there are just ways to go about it. Make sure the sanctuary you visit is ethical by checking out what kind of interactions they have available. Don’t support cruelty when there are so many ways not to.