A heart-wrenching video of a baby elephant collapsing out of exhaustion in eastern Thailand has angered many animal-lovers online. The animal, believed to be around a year old, was attached to its mother by the neck with a length of rope while tourists rode her at Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens in Pattaya, eastern Thailand.
The footage, which was captured by a concerned tourist, shows the young elephant falling and rolling about on the floor in 40C heat before getting back to its feet. People in the video can be overheard discussing how tired the calf appeared to be.
According to the video uploader, the baby elephant had reportedly been walking around the area with its mother while collecting tourists.
The Filipino tourist, who works as a teacher in Thailand’s neighboring country Myanmar, said:
“There are many more baby elephants tied with their mother walking around with tourists at their backs enjoying under the heat of the sun while these elephants are suffering.
This one baby elephant was so exhausted, and you can see the mother comforting and encouraging her to stand. I’m just concerned for the elephants and want to ensure their welfare is properly taken care of.”
The clip has sparked outrage among netizens, with some blaming the tourists who patronize practices that abuse the animals.
A spokesperson from the Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens has denied allegations that the baby elephant was exhausted or being mistreated in any way.
The spokesperson said:
“All of the elephants are healthy and treated very well. If there is a problem they are treated by vets. All of the babies here are healthy.”
Thailand has a centuries-old culture of domesticating elephants. There were around 100,000 captive elephants in the country in the early 20th century, according to reports.
Riding an elephant might be an enjoyable trip for tourists but for the animal, it’s a nightmare.
Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, senior wildlife and veterinary adviser at World Animal Protection, said:
“Tourists may think activities like riding an elephant do no harm. But the brutal truth is that breaking these animals’ spirits to the point that they allow humans to interact with them involves cruelty at every turn.”
Earlier this month, a baby elephant died after he broke his back legs while performing tricks at a Thai zoo.
Watch the video here:
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