From: New York Times
In Thailand, You Can Ride an Elephant. But Should You?
Interacting with the animals is one of the country’s major tourism draws, and a new organization is trying to make it more humane.
More than half of Thailand’s 7,000 elephants live in captivity. It’s been that way ever since 1989, when the country suspended almost all of the commercial logging that had employed them for generations. Jobless elephants, often with their keepers, ended up on the streets, wandering across farmlands or taking shelter in dangerous spots like highway underpasses.
Today almost all of the captive animals work to entertain tourists, often in remote clearings, for small-scale operations with no more than 15 elephants, similar to roadside farms in the U.S. that have emerged as tourist destinations. Sometimes visitors simply wander among and feed the elephants. But many of the so-called elephant camps let visitors bathe with them and ride them. And larger, more touristy sites present displays that range from a few circus-style tricks to Vegas-like pageants with costumes, scripted narratives and light shows.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/travel/thailand-elephant-tourism-humane.html