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News Forum - Elephant’s back caves in after 25 years of tourist rides in Thailand


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Pai Lin the elephant spent over 25 years in Thailand’s trekking industry, where she was forced to give rides to up to six tourists at a time. Now, her back is visibly deformed. She now lives free at Thailand’s biggest wildlife rescue centre where she can roam chain-free and engage in natural behaviours. Photographs show that Pai Lin’s spine, …

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I’ve ridden an elephant in Thailand just once, with my wife, without knowing the impact it has on the elephants. I couldn’t understand at the tIme why I had to ride up front (uncomfortable, couldn’t wait for it to end). Found out later that in dual rides, the lighter passenger is always at the back because the elephant’s backbone isn’t suited to heavy loads.

I won’t ride an elephant again but sadly there is an endless procession of tourists who will.

Sad for the elephants.

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This cruelty will only stop if the elephants grab the tourists by their trunk and throw them away from the seat which is on their shoulders. 

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1 hour ago, BigHewer said:

I’ve ridden an elephant in Thailand just once, with my wife, without knowing the impact it has on the elephants. I couldn’t understand at the tIme why I had to ride up front (uncomfortable, couldn’t wait for it to end). Found out later that in dual rides, the lighter passenger is always at the back because the elephant’s backbone isn’t suited to heavy loads.

I won’t ride an elephant again but sadly there is an endless procession of tourists who will.

Sad for the elephants.

I didn't know that either, up front is the only way I have been on an elephant, in Thailand and Nepal. My views have come around a bit since then, I wouldn't ride an elephant now, although I do recognse that there are issues on how they can be cared for without any income and of conflicts between wild elephants and farmers.

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1 hour ago, BigHewer said:

I’ve ridden an elephant in Thailand just once, with my wife, without knowing the impact it has on the elephants. I couldn’t understand at the tIme why I had to ride up front (uncomfortable, couldn’t wait for it to end). Found out later that in dual rides, the lighter passenger is always at the back because the elephant’s backbone isn’t suited to heavy loads.

I won’t ride an elephant again but sadly there is an endless procession of tourists who will.

Sad for the elephants.

You should have carried the bloody elephant then 😁

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4 minutes ago, Rookiescot said:

You should have carried the bloody elephant then 😁

At the time, I did start to question the whole process. I noticed at various tour shops that “No ride” was a thing. Meaning that some tourists were attracted to a “no ride” elephant farm.

At the farm we ended up at, we were the only “anglophones”. Everyone else was either a young Russian or part of a  Chinese family. Made me wonder about the process, which I now know more about.

From my experience, it would seem that certain countries are more attuned to elephant suffering than others.

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8 hours ago, BigHewer said:

I’ve ridden an elephant in Thailand just once, with my wife, without knowing the impact it has on the elephants. I couldn’t understand at the tIme why I had to ride up front (uncomfortable, couldn’t wait for it to end). Found out later that in dual rides, the lighter passenger is always at the back because the elephant’s backbone isn’t suited to heavy loads.

I won’t ride an elephant again but sadly there is an endless procession of tourists who will.

Sad for the elephants.

Same, i did it with my father and had no idea at the time about these issues.  i wont ride one ever again and do not patronize any businesses or organizations that chain, cage, or showcase wild animals.  When friends or family visit i do not even make visiting such places an option. 

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10 hours ago, BigHewer said:

From my experience, it would seem that certain countries are more attuned to elephant suffering than others.

I think it’s clear that some countries are more attuned to animal cruelty in general. Some people simply see them as a resource to be exploited. No thought about the pain and suffering the animal endures. I accept that in some parts of the world making animals work is essential to life. Equally, in many developed countries the demand for ever cheaper diary and meat products mean animals suffer. 

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