SA tourism industry under pressure to end elephant rides

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An increasing global awareness for the welfare issues and cruel training methods associated with elephant back riding, a drive to end the practice worldwide is gaining momentum and South Africa’s captive elephant industry is being forced to relook at the elephant experiences they have on offer.

Five out of 14 elephant riding facilities available in the country have announced that they are ending the practice over the last twelve months

With the development of global guidelines for animal welfare in  tourism by the UK’s Travel Industry Association (ABTA) and the launch of a campaign, “Wildlife. Not entertainers” by animal welfare organisation, World Animal Protection, over one hundred international travel companies have pledged to stop promoting elephant rides, including Harvey World Travel, Africa Travel and TUI.

“We will not work anymore with suppliers who have elephant unfriendly excursions like riding or sitting on elephants and watching elephant shows,” says Elise Allart, Manager of Sustainable Development at TUI, Netherlands.

A report published last year by the NSPCA highlighted that all elephants living in captivity endure welfare deficiencies in one way or another and cruelty to captive elephants is not limited to extreme conditions with the use of chains, bull hooks and confinement alone.

According to the report’s research, it is impossible to tame an elephant in one lifespan since domestication can only be achieved over generations. Adding to this, no conservation benefits have been ascribed to captive elephant breeding programmes due to low breeding and high mortality rates. For these reasons, elephants – which are recognised as sentient beings relying heavily on family bonds – more often than not display emotional and physical trauma in captivity. As a result of these scientific findings the captive elephant industry remains under scrutiny by welfare experts and conservationists across the globe.

This is an excerpt from an article first published by Traveller 24. Read the original article here: SA’s elephant industry under pressure to end elephant rides | Traveller24

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