We all love elephants. As kids, we all looked forward to seeing elephants perform on the circus. There’s always something exciting about watching these huge animals do their tricks. Growing up as adults, riding one is probably on your list when you go on vacation somewhere in Southeast Asia.
Unknown to most of us, however, is the tragic reality behind the elephant tourism industry.
Elephants are tor tured before they become “useful” for elephant tourism.
In a video posted recently by Circa, we learn that these trained elephants first go through a process called “phajaan” which literally translates to “the crush.” The purpose, according to the website, is simple – “to break the independent spirit of an elephant so they obey human commands.”
This explains why elephants eventually allow people to ride them, although they do not do that by nature. In fact, these animals don’t even paint, play musical instruments, or perform circus tricks at all.
‘Phajaan’ prepares them for all that and it can be “deeply and permanently traumatizing,” as Circa actually describes it.
Young elephants are thrown into a very small cage and then they’re beaten and starved of food and water. This goes on for days or even a month until the elephant trainers think that the animal is ready to obey them.
Fortunately, someone out there is hoping to change all that.
Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, co-founder of Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is helping rescue the animals and are spreading awareness about the harsh realities of elephant tourism industry.
Lek develops a close relationship with the elephants they rescue.
She particularly enjoys singing to them, especially to those who have mentally suffered because of all the torture they’ve experienced. Faa Sai, for example, usually falls asleep when Lek sings.
Watch the video here and learn more:
Lek believes that the solution is education. You can visit the Elephant Nature Park to find more information about how you can help their cause.
Also, be sure to share this story so it can reach more tourists.
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