International animal charity against elephant tourist rides

The appalling cruelty inflicted upon Asian elephants used for tourist rides is now spreading throughout southern Africa, reveals a report by World Animal Protection that was released today.  The report highlights the rise of elephant rides in southern Africa; a tourist attraction that is already well established in parts of Asia.


According to the report there are now at least 36 commercial elephant venues, holding 215 captive elephants, operating across Southern Africa. “Most parks are in South Africa, where at least 126 captive elephants are held in at least 22 different venues,” the report mentions. A further 47 are held in seven elephant parks across Zimbabwe, 13 in two venues in Zambia and 11 elephants in two venues in Botswana.


Elephant rides are a popular and lucrative tourist activity, but behind the scenes the animals are taken from their mothers, their spirit is broken, and they endure cruel and stressful ‘training’ to make them tolerate being ridden. If not addressed urgently hundreds more African elephants could face a lifetime of cruel confinement, beatings and other harsh treatment, all for tourist entertainment.


While talking to Bilal Hussain, CSR Times, Managing Editor-North, Gajender Sharma, Country Director at World Animal Protection India said that African elephants are the biggest land animals in the world and many tourists want to see them. But the spread of elephant rides for tourists is putting them under more strain. More calves are being taken from the wild, away from their mothers to be sold and cruelly trained and abused for the tourism industry.


“We’re asking tour operators to sign our Elephant-Friendly Tourist Pledge, and to stop selling elephant rides and shows.  We’re exposing the cruelty behind the scenes of elephant rides in Africa so that tourists who love animals, choose to not ride elephants and see them in the wild.  By taking action now, we can put a stop to tourist elephant cruelty in Africa before it’s too late,” Gajender Sharma said.


The numbers of wild elephants have increased since the beginning of the 20th century.  However, the poaching of elephants to meet the growing tourist demand, in addition to poaching for ivory, could put them under even more strain. 



Bilal Hussain

CSR Times


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