The Truth Behind Elephant Tourism in Thailand: And What One Project Is Doing About It
Most of you WhenInManila readers are likely familiar with elephant tourism activities like elephant trekking and circus shows. For those of you who are, you might be surprised to know what happens behind the scenes to make these elephant rides and cute elephant tricks happen. And if you’re anything like me, it will change your outlook on wildlife-related tourism forever.
It’s no secret elephant related tourist attractions are a popular business throughout Southeast Asia, and as long as travelers keep paying for them they’ll continue to exist. Up until a couple of years ago my wildlife-activism self would have even been a consumer of it, only because I hadn’t given much thought the the actual “business” of it all. It wasn’t until I started working and filming with different wildlife conservation projects around the world that I began to understand how my demand as a tourist impacted wildlife treatment in the destinations I visited… And after a recent trip to Thailand to do some filming for a local non-profit called the Surin Project, which works to improve the living conditions of captive Asian elephants, you won’t catch me riding an elephant ever again.
My intention in sharing the following short film is not to ruin anyone’s fun the next time they want to mix travel with a unique wildlife experience. Instead, I hope by shedding light on some of the realities behind traditional elephant tourism practices travelers feel encouraged to learn more and hopefully make alternate, yet equally rewarding, wildlife related travel plans. While this particular film focuses on elephant tourism in Thailand while promoting the idea of volunteer-toursim, its bigger message of responsible travel practices can be applied to any destination you may find yourself traveling to next.
The Surin Project – Helping Thailand’s Captive Elephants from GlifeMedia
For more information about the Surin Project or how to get involved visit their website: SurinProject.org
What are your thoughts on this? Please spread the word about the TRUTH behind Elephant Tourism!
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