Thailand’s Ethical Elephant Parks Are Starting to Change Tourism
With the heightened awareness of the need to conserve the natural resources of the world, Thailand’s ethical elephant nature parks and conservation centers are starting to change the face of tourism in the country.
Tourist attractions that once used to feature elephants goaded into performing tricks for the tourists, or carrying them on their backs in the hot tropical sun of Thailand are falling out of favor with visitors to the country.
The world’s media have shone a spotlight on the unethical treatment of elephants for a few years now as the awareness of the need for conservation has come to gain a lot of the world’s attention.
Nowadays, tourists who have an awareness of the conservation needs of the world’s wildlife are much more likely to seek out Thailand’s ethical elephant nature parks and conservation centers.
This is causing an upheaval with the owners of the ‘old-school’ business models of elephant tourism and attractions. Many of them are closing down, and the conservation parks and nature reserves are rescuing their elephants. But this is causing another problem for the elephants of Thailand.
Care and Feeding of an Elephant
A fully-grown, adult elephant can eat up to 300 kilograms of grasses, foliage, tree bark, and fruit a day. And a lot of these rescued elephants are older and in need of medical care due to their age and the conditions in which they were kept.
All this care and feeding of elephants costs money. By allowing tourists to enter and interact with the elephants in these nature parks and elephant conservation centers, the caretakers of the parks collect entry fees that go towards paying the costs of the ongoing care and feeding of the elephants.
Ethical Dilemma of the Nature Parks
But allowing too many tourists into Thailand’s ethical elephant nature parks presents its own ethical dilemma.
The caretakers in Thailand’s nature parks are primarily concerned with providing a safe and natural haven where the elephant can be cared for and enjoy a peaceful life. At the same time, these elephants have to have medical care and a constant supply of food.
But by increasing the number of tourists admitted to the parks, the caretakers would cause increasing amounts of stress to the elephants, while making enough money to pay for their food and medical care. And that’s something that ethical operators are unwilling to do.
Donate to an Elephant Park in Thailand
The solution lies in the ability of the internet to spread the word about the elephants of Thailand around the world.
Many of Thailand’s ethical elephant nature parks and conservation centers have harnessed the power of ecommerce in a bid to provide for their elephants. By donating to one, or several of these parks, you'll help ensure the elephant's survival and way of life.
By buying a branded t-shirt, cloth bag, or other merchandise from these websites, you'll help save the elephants and spread the word about the considerable, and excellent efforts these parks and conservation centers are making in their fight to provide for the elephants of Thailand.
Published by Matthew Piggot