An Elephant Never Forgets

Following on from our post about elephant cruelty, we were made aware of a few recent incidents that highlighted how these harmful acts continue to affect elephants, even after their spirits have been ‘crushed’.

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(Image from Pixabay)

Less than a month ago, there were reports of an incident in Thailand where a mahout (elephant trainer) was attacked and killed by a male elephant at an elephant camp. The elephant apparently went into a rage after being unchained from a wooden post that he was tethered to at the camp.

An elephant never forgets. It’s an age old saying that actually rings true, with research finding that elephants have exceptionally solid memories. We’ll never know what was going on in the elephant’s mind when he attacked his mahout, but maybe it had something to do with the pain he endured while being ‘trained’.

Earlier this year, an elderly female elephant collapsed and died from exhaustion after carrying tourists around the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia. Veterinarians concluded that the death was caused by excessive work in hot temperatures, leading to stress, shock, high blood pressure and a heart attack.

It would be inhumane to work a person to exhaustion in hot climates, so why is it ok that we do it to animals?

For a more in-depth look into elephants within the tourism industry and how they’re treated, you can watch a free documentary online that uncovers the gory details, aptly named An Elephant Never Forgets.

There’s Nothing #SoHipster About ‘Renting’ an Animal

So a couple of days ago, one of our team members was scrolling through Facebook and passing the time, when she happened upon some photos of her friend riding an elephant in Cambodia. Of course, she was horrified. She thought he knew better than to participate in an animal attraction. And then, she was insulted. Insulted because he chose to caption his set of photos with “Why rent a car when you can rent an elephant #DoingItLocal #EcoFriendly #SoHipster”, as seen below.

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Naturally, we here at Fatal Animal Attractions were enraged. Riding an elephant DOES NOT qualify you as being a ‘local’ – there is nothing local or native about mounting these wild animals. It is also definitely NOT #EcoFriendly because riding on the backs of elephants, especially those that have chairs saddled onto them, is not an act of friendship, but rather one of enslavement. According to Elephant Aid International, elephants are not anatomically designed to carry weight on their back. The weight of carrying tourists and mahouts (trainers) on their back has the ability to cause long-term damage on their spine. As well as wearing down the tissue and bones on an elephant’s back, the chairs they carry can also damage their skin and cause painful lesions on the elephant’s body.

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(These screenshots were taken with permission from the original user. The identities of the individuals have been removed for anonymity and privacy concerns.)

So please, don’t be a fool and think that riding an elephant makes you environmentally friendly and #SoHipster with your 52 likes. If you really want to be a local, rent a bike and explore the areas around town. Don’t rent an elephant, because they are not ours to rent!

Update 19/9/16: After speaking to the original user who posted these photos, he has since edited his post to mention that he was unaware of the pain and circumstances that occurred in training the elephant to be ‘tame’ enough to ride.