Riding an elephant may seem like the epitome of adventure and harmony with nature. Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Jahn and Chok were victims of wildlife entertainment in Thailand for 30 years. They were forced to spend hours every day giving rides with the sun scorching their bodies, day in and day out. That was until World Animal Protection rescued them!
After enduring a lifetime of pain and suffering, these best friends were given a second chance to live out their lives together in the freedom of sanctuary. They were transferred to an ethical Koh Lanta elephant sanctuary named Following Giants.
“The resident elephants have given their last rides and lifted their last logs. It’s now time for us to follow these gentle giants as they lead the way,” says Following Giants.
Behind the scenes of famous elephant riding attractions, the animals are chained and robbed of any social contact with other elephants. They are frequently beaten and deprived of food, water or rest until they lose all will to fight back.
Elephants are highly intelligent and emotional beings; when pushed to their limit, they react just as a person under great stress will. The reality is that these creatures don’t belong as tourism props, and no matter how hard we may try to make them conform, we can never truly stifle their wild spirit.
In May of 2020, Chok sadly passed away suddenly. Although everyone is mourning his loss, Following Giants reassured their supporters when they said, “We are so proud that Chok got to live at the elephant-friendly Following Giants in the final months of his life, where he had the freedom to simply be an elephant.” Jahn is surely missing her best friend but is so grateful for the precious time that they had together in the sanctuary.
Life for an elephant in captivity is far different from one living in the wild, where they will trek up to thirty miles a day and form strong bonds with other elephants. The good news is you have the power to stop this cruelty. And it all starts with saying no to elephant rides.
This article by Holly Woodbury was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 25 August 2022. Lead Image Source : World Animal Protection US /Facebook.
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