What an incredible experience! This place is amazing and anything you might have read about abuse... read more
Hi there! I understand your concerns, so hopefully I can put your mind at ease. Is it ethical to ride elephants? Yes, from everything that I have read and experienced, it most certainly is. Elephants can comfortably carry up... More
Hi there! I understand your concerns, so hopefully I can put your mind at ease. Is it ethical to ride elephants? Yes, from everything that I have read and experienced, it most certainly is. Elephants can comfortably carry up to 800 pounds on their backs, so the weight of a human is nothing to them. As a matter of fact, the elephant that I rode would push her ears back on my legs to help keep me steady, something that she would definitely not have done if she didn't want me there. The chains do not confine the elephants, but instead merely remind them of where they are supposed to be. Some elephants are on special diets due to health and age limitations, so it's important that they don't eat something that they shouldn't. Also, there are times when elephants need to stay separated, such as when a male is in musk (period of high hormones and aggression), or when they simply don't get along. I saw my elephant actually unscrew her chain to walk around, so believe me, they aren't stopping an elephant that wants to go somewhere! Also, there is no "breaking" the elephants to work with them. The elephants are revered members of the family, and the staff have been known to sleep outside with the elephant when they are sick, oftentimes in dirt and mud, just to stay close to their friend. Buddhists believe that Buddha reincarnated from an elephant, so that the elephant is one step away from man. Elephants are incredibly loved and respected in Thailand. My trip to Elephantstay was truly the best experience of my life thus far, and I cannot wait for my next trip!!!