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Elephants in Phuket

 

It is not uncommon to be driving on the road in Phuket, Thailand, especially during sunset time through the hills of Kamala and see the majestic walk of Elephants. there has been a big crack down lately on the treatment of these creatures as it is now well known that to tame them is considered cruel. The ‘breaking of the spirit’ is a horrible act that involves tying them down and whipping them until they succumb to being controlled by humans. often you will see the mahoot riding on their neck with a sharpened metal rod that is used to control their every move. It is not recommended to participate in Elephant rides which promotes this shocking behaviour.

There is one light at the end of the tunnel which is a place called ‘The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary‘ This is the only ethical place that takes retired elephants and puts them in an environment where they are not ridden by tourists and controlled by sharp hooks.

At ‘The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary’ you can participate by washing the elephants and also watch them behave exactly how they would in the wild.
One of the elephants named ‘Kannika’ is blind and it took a great deal of effort to rescue her and retire her to the sanctuary. Despite the atrocities committed by humans during her life she is the most gentle elephant at the sanctuary and is being rehabilitated each day by the team and her very patient handler which is also called a ‘mahoot’

You may find that the price of the sanctuary is slightly higher than the others however they are free to roam in huge areas which make up the borders of the sanctuary situated at the northern part of Phuket. obviously this land costs a lot of money hence the slightly higher price.

Elephants have played a major roll in working together with humans throughout Thailands history. They have been used in battles against neighbouring countries and have also been utilised in foresting moving large amounts of trees. The most common use now in this day and age is for tourist purposes. Sure it is difficult to resist the chance to ride an elephant and take pictures for social media however it is highly recommended that you do not participate in the exploitation of these beautiful creatures. As more and more information is shared on social media, there is a lot of pressure on the unethical operators.

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