Great news for elephants onWorld Elephant Day! Several key Dutch tour operators have announced that they will no longer be offering elephant rides and shows with travel packages. Instead, they will offer compassionate alternatives to travelers.
Elephants in tourism are often captured from the wild or born from parents who were caught in the wild. They are not domesticated, but wild animals in captivity that need to be tamed and trained in order to be used for rides and shows. This is a process that all elephants must undergo, whether they’re born in captivity or captured from the wild.
Taming is a stressful and painful process. Performed at a young age, it includes restraint, and denial of food and water. In many cases, severe pain is inflicted to speed up training. This ‘breaking-in’ is intended to permanently establish human dominance over the elephant, and frequently leads to death from exhaustion and dehydration.
We strongly believe that by choosing to avoid elephant entertainment, like shows and rides, both travelers and tour companies can significantly improve welfare conditions for elephants in captivity.
The aim is to create a switch in the Dutch travel industry as a whole, towards venues where elephants are provided as much freedom as possible and are allowed to roam in a natural habitat. This practice will be the beginning of a gradual, sustainable phase-out and contribute to making the tourism industry more conscious of animal welfare.
Mark Green, managing director of Baobab Travel said: “WSPA has opened our eyes about the cruelties behind elephant rides and elephant shows, credit where credit is due. We cannot sell this, not to our travelers and not to our children. That is why we wholeheartedly support the initiative."