A visitor’s guide to ethical elephant sanctuaries in Thailand

If you’re a tourist, a visit to Thailand is incomplete with out seeing the country’s extraordinary elephants. These majestic animals have been an integral part of Thailand’s tradition and history, used for quite so much of functions corresponding to for transportation, struggle, logging (in the timber industry), and now tourism. Currently, there are around 3,500 – four,000 captive elephants in Thailand. Wild elephant numbers vary from three,000 – 3,seven hundred, with declining population numbers every year.
In latest occasions, global consciousness relating to animal abuse has increased and plenty of have expressed considerations relating to elephant therapy within the tourism trade. Therefore, in Unconditional , an growing variety of individuals are looking for to visit elephant sanctuaries that promote ethical practices.
Whilst elephants have been Thailand’s nationwide animal, symbol, and pride, there have been many instances of abuse of those valuable animals. You might have seen instances concerning the horrific treatment of elephants circulating across the internet, such as the one beneath:
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From a young age, humans achieve management of elephants via “crushing” or “breaking-in” using inhumane strategies such as tying elephants down with ropes and chains, whipping them, poking them with bull-hooks, and stabbing them with nails. This is to force the elephants to do varied tourist activities corresponding to portray with their trunks and performing circus methods, all of that are very unnatural.
However, trends are changing as COVID-19 has led to optimistic developments in the elephant tourism business; elephant entertainment venues were pressured to close down due to the lack of vacationers. Due to the high prices of taking good care of the elephants, many got away to sanctuaries as house owners may not handle covering day by day expenses.
Prior to delving into the methods of selecting an ethical sanctuary, it’s key to pinpoint what the term “ethical” represents. In this context, ethical sanctuaries offer a home for animals with out taking advantage and harming them. These kinds of shelters dedicate their efforts to conservation tasks, rescue missions, and rehabilitation plans. They strictly keep away from employing elephants for customer amusement, rides, or some other actions considered to be manipulative.
The key element to focus on is ensuring your experiences don’t compromise the welfare of the elephants. To help identify animal welfare, World Animal Protection recognized 5 domains to help accomplish that: diet, setting, health, behaviour, and mental state.
Prior to booking a visit, it’s important to conduct some online research about the elephant sanctuary you are planning to visit in Thailand. Confirm whether it’s associated with any conservation initiatives, and search for feedback or scores from past guests. Be careful of sanctuaries that promote elephant reveals and experience experiences.
Sanctuaries that operate under ethical standards might be open about their procedures. They will disclose the origins of the elephants, strategies for their care, and herding strategies.
Behind the scenes place restrictions on human-elephant interactions. They prohibit activities corresponding to elephant rides and staged shows that can significantly misery the elephants. Rather, visitors may be given the opportunity to help caretakers in feeding these majestic creatures or watch them from a protected distance.
Check whether or not the sanctuary employs certified veterinarians who care for the elephants’ well being. Regular health check-ups ought to be a part of this system.
Ensure that the elephants have access to a pure surroundings with the freedom to wander, immerse themselves in water, feed on vegetation, and work together with their fellow species. Do they attempt to replicate an precise elephant habitat? Are the elephants chained up and is their mobility limited?
Numerous verified, moral elephant sanctuaries exist throughout Thailand – there is so much to discover. Even though this list will give attention to 5, there are a plethora of choices, so make sure to do your individual research (and make your individual judgement) as properly.
Founded in 2011, Burm and Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary (BEES) in Thailand is a community-based initiative devoted to the rescue and rehabilitation of elephants from harsh circumstances. BEES, residence to various animals together with canine, cats, cows and elephants, promotes ethical eco-tourism and sustainable development through local employment and neighborhood tasks. The sanctuary advocates for a world the place animals reside with out worry, urging accountable travel. Quoting from their web site: “BEES are a spot where humans now work for them (the animals).”
Location: 34 หมู่ 1, Tambon Chang Keung, Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai 50270
The Somboon Legacy Foundation is an elephant sanctuary based in 2019, which is concentrated on creating an surroundings where elephants can live freely and naturally. Adopting a hands-off approach, this enables the elephants to exist in their natural social groups. Their main purpose is not only rescue and shield elephants, but in addition to provide education about ethical elephant tourism in their interactive elephant museum.
Location: 129, Klon Do, Danmakamtia, Kanchanaburi 71260
Prioritising the welfare of its elephants, the sanctuary of Samui Elephant Kingdom provides distinctive experiences for its patrons, such as having workshops to make and feed high-nutrition power balls to the elephants. Strong tips have been established in the sanctuary, just like the deterrent of loud noises, to take care of a stress-free environment for the elephants. Above all, the dominion adopts a mixture of compassion and optimistic reinforcement for elephant care and upholds the globally accepted ‘5 Freedoms for Animals’.
Location: 25/11 Moo 2, Namuang, Surat Thani 84140
WFFT Elephant Refuge in Thailand, a chain-free elephant sanctuary, is a project beneath the Wildlife Friends Foundations Thailand. The foundation provides large, naturalistic enclosures for the elephants to discover and socialise and provides a home for beforehand abused elephants, lots of whom were exploited in the trekking and logging industries. WFFT operates purely on donations and the hard work of volunteers, who make sure the day by day care of the elephants, and they also search help via donations, visitations, or volunteering alternatives.
Location: 108 Tambon Thamairuak, Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi 76130
Opening back in 2016, Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a renowned refuge for retired and rescued elephants in Thailand. Endorsed by National Geographic, this sanctuary serves as a pure residence for abused and overworked elephants from the tourism and logging industries. The haven is dedicated to the best moral standards, making certain the elephants are nurtured in a safe and sustainable surroundings. Popular with tourists, the park offers visitors an opportunity to look at these peaceable animals of their habitat, educating them about the plight of Asian elephants.
Location: a hundred, Moo 2, Paklok, Thalang, 83110
When you resolve to explore sanctuaries recognized for their ethical therapy of elephants, you deliver positivity to their pure settings whereas aiding in preservation efforts. As a traveler, your go to turns into meaningful if the sanctuaries you choose are committed to maintaining the dignity, security, and overall well being of Thailand’s amazing elephants..

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