How I Decided I'd Never Ride an Elephant
Before we moved to Nepal, I remember reading that elephant safaris was a popular activity when visiting Chitwan, a forested area in the South of Nepal. It is common to see species like rhinos, elephants and tigers there. Riding an elephant sounded so exotic, so very exciting. Who doesn’t want to be close to elephants, right?
At first it may look harmless to ride them, but when you research and find that baby elephants begin their "training" when they are as young as six months old in the most brutal way, you cannot justify it. From an early age, these majestic sentient beings go through stages of cruel training so that they fear their handlers and become submissive for the rest of their lives. Many elephants are doomed to a lifetime of hardship, carrying tourists on their backs -every single day-. We recently found out about a female working elephant in Nepal that ran away into the forest because she was afraid of her human caretakers. Days later, the owners found her and brought her back. She was beaten until she bled and was chained once again. This just is one story of hundreds of elephants forced to work for human entertainment.
Learning about all the angles of the "business" was heartbreaking. I had two choices: 1) Ignore their situation and avoid the pain or 2) Hear my calling, and do something about it. I chose the latter, hoping that by getting involved, the lives of these working elephants would improve. And even though I have come to accept that Any change worth fighting for takes time, I am glad that I’m speaking up for them.
There have been small victories along the way, and I have met people from all walks of life who have the same goal in mind. Even though we do different things to help, in the end, we all want to improve the lives of elephants living in captivity by discouraging tourists from going on elephant rides. I believe this is change that can happen in my lifetime if more people become aware and stop riding elephants.
You'll find more testimonials and useful information on my blog. There are many things we can do today!