The dark truth about "Elephant Sanctuaries"
The dark truth hidden behind all those glossy Instagram shots of people at “elephant sanctuaries” (including this one) is a disturbing culture of economic greed, cruelty and animal abuse. On the surface of it all, it sounded like the most magical experience, being able to positively contribute towards elephant welfare, that was until I quickly realized the sad and disturbing reality of it all. Wanting to see and interact with elephants is a common desire of many people who travel to Asia, but most places like "Karen Elephant Experience / Elephant Nature Park" that I went to, is not the way to do it. I unfortunately did not do enough research prior to going and I thought maybe as long as they didn’t offer elephant rides, that it would be ethical.. man, was I ever wrong. Elephants are trained and subjected to situations where they wouldn’t be if they had the option to choose, such as riding, guiding, bathing or even just touching them. Anywhere that offers anything I just listed is NOT a sanctuary. I am one of the few who witnessed first hand an elephant being stabbed with a knife because it no longer wanted to be in the water, where all the tourists were throwing mud and water at her. I froze in disbelief and became numb hearing the elephant cry in agony and pain. I felt sick to my stomach and shed tears of anger and sadness that someone could harm such a beautiful, gentle, and kind creature. After doing hours of research, I discovered that Elephants are chained for 12-15 hours straight with no access to food, water or socialization and are punished if they don’t do what they’re told by their trainers. As much as I am ashamed that I paid and supported these horrific and unethical places, I feel like I was meant to be there to witness what I did, so I could be the voice for the voiceless and educate others on the reality of how these animals are treated. Please think twice before visiting, posting or liking an Instagram photo of these awful and misleading places and do your research on legitimate elephant sanctuaries where they are protected, cared for and admired from afar. #VoiceForTheVoiceless 🐘🖤 Much love - G x x