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Tourists Urged To Give Up Elephant-Riding After Horrific Photos Of Animal Cruelty Emerge

Tourists Urged To Give Up Elephant-Riding After Horrific Photos Of Animal Cruelty Emerge

TW: Animal abuse The Thai government's agencies have been coming up with a number of initiatives to combat the problem of animal abuse. Some of these initiatives include policy-making, supporting research on wildlife, rehabilitating injured animals, and eradicating the illegal wild animal trade.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Thailand? Elephants? A trip to Thailand is not complete without a sight of those beautiful, gentle, and majestic creatures. Everything you get in Thailand, from bags to curios will all have elephant motifs. They also serve as a tourist attraction in several cities, where tourists can actually ride on elephants. But now, they have been urged not to ride the elephants, after shocking pictures emerged that serve as a stark reminder of the cruelty these poor animals are subjected to at some of these tourist destinations, according to Yahoo News. 



 

The images that are believed to be taken in Phuket, show abused elephants mistreated by animal ride operators. The gentle giants can be seen with horrific wounds on their heads and bodies while keepers ride them, holding sharp metal canes to their heads. The shocking photos have circulated worldwide after they were shared on Twitter in April with the caption: You can stop inhumanity tortured on elephants by stop riding an elephant!



 

These photos went viral immediately, shocking tourists and Thai authorities alike, and they are now pleading with holidaymakers to put an end to this abusive joyride. “We never support tourists riding the elephants,” a spokesperson from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) told Yahoo News Australia in an email. When asked for their advice to travelers visiting Thailand, the spokesperson urged tourists: “Please don’t ride the elephants and don’t support this business.”



 

The travel authority also added that the Thai government's agencies have been coming up with a number of initiatives to combat the problem of animal abuse. Some of these initiatives include policy-making, supporting research on wildlife, rehabilitating injured animals, and eradicating the illegal wild animal trade. According to the Thai tourism authority, independent and government organizations, as well as individuals have also made efforts to help save the animals and preserve their habitat.



 

TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the animals also presented a “special spiritual significance”, as part of acknowledging the animal as the country's national symbol, and also taking into consideration its deep association with Buddhism and Hinduism. “So, it must always be revered and well taken care of,” he wrote in a recent blog post on the tourism board’s website.



 

 Dr. Patrapol Maneeorn, Wildlife Veterinarian of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation says that there are currently about 3500 wild elephants and 4500 domesticated elephants in Thailand. Wild elephants who live in their natural habitats are considered as “wild animals” and they are protected by Thai laws. However, domesticated elephants fall under the "working animals" category and are just like other livestock. 



 

“The relevant Thai government agencies are planning to remove elephants from the Working Animal list and give them special protective status in the near future, which might include new regulations on how owners can take care of and treat them,” Dr. Maneeorn said in a recent interview with the TAT. If you feel like helping or report abuse, do your bit. Thai citizens and tourists can help report suspicions of animal cruelty to the Wildlife First Aid Coordination Centre or through the Wildlife Friends Foundations Thailand website.



 

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