Story of an elephant with a distorted spine because of reckless tourist rides

An elephant, after working for 25 years in the tourism industry, is now left with a disfigured spine. This incident is not new, and animals working in the tourism industry have to go through abuse to please the viewers.

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Elephants might be the largest land animals, with an average weight of 5,000 kg, but nothing justifies the cruelty to which these animals are subjected by humans.

A photo released by a wildlife rescue group, ‘ Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand (WFFT)’ shows Pai Lin, a 71-year-old female elephant whose spine is misshapen after 25 years of working in the tourism industry.

It is reported that the elephant was forced to carry 6 tourists at a time. ” Pai Lin’s back still bears scars from the continuous tourism,” according to the foundation. “Constant pressure due to human rides deteriorates the tissue and bones on the backs of elephants, and that results in irreversible damage to their spines,” they noted.

The foundation further explained in a post that how round and raised Pai Lin’s spine should be, but is now left caved and sunken because of reckless load she had to bear in all those years.

Elephant rides are a common tourist activity in many Southeast Asian nations, but advocates claim the activity is cruel to elephants because they were not made to be ridden. They claim that the animals are frequently mistreated and exploited in other industries, such as logging and trekking, and that many of them physically labour themselves to death before passing away from exhaustion and malnutrition.

As per a report by World Animal Protection, India has around 3,000 captive elephants, and the majority of these offer joyrides in Rajasthan and Kerala only.

But on a positive note, Pai Lin arrived at this sanctuary in 2006 after she was given up by her previous owner. And now she lives at the sanctuary with 24 other rescued elephants. She is reported to be healthy now.

WWFT mentioned that they shared Pai Lin’s story to raise awareness about elephant cruelty and remind people never to ride them as tourism returned to the country following the COVID pandemic.

And the post already reached the masses, and people came out in support of the innocent animals being tortured repeatedly.

The cruel animal tourism industry

Elephants in the tourism industry are exposed to cruel training, family abductions, improper care, and much more. Young elephants are abducted from their mothers, confined into small spaces, and abused with sticks and bullhooks till the time they lose their spirits and become submissive. This cruel training, also known as Phajaan in Thai culture, has been in practice for ages.

What can you do to stop animal abuse in the tourism industry?

The only way out is by saying “NO” to these animal rides. You can support animal rescue places where they offer interaction with animals, or you can volunteer at sanctuaries to be close to these animals.


Why is it bad for elephants to be in the tourism industry?

To entertain visitors, elephants are frequently exploited and kept in abusive and cruel circumstances. According to a report, three out of every four elephants surveyed in popular tourist locations in Southeast Asia are living in harsh conditions where they are used for rides, mostly with steel or wooden saddles and tied in chains less than three metres long. The animals are given poor diets, do not have access to proper veterinary care, and are frequently subjected to stressful environments that include loud music and a large number of visitors.

What are elephants used for in the tourism industry?

The tourism sector employs wild animals for entertainment in various methods all over the world. In tourist destinations across Asia, elephants are maintained so that visitors can enjoy activities like rides, shows, elephant washing, feeding, selfies, and observation.

Is elephant tourism in Thailand abusive?

According to the story published by PETA, young elephants are allegedly taken from their mothers, beaten, underfed, and bound with ropes. They have to face physical torture and emotional abuse before they are sufficiently terrified to submit to their captors. The adult elephants also face endless violence and trauma, in order to make animals perpetually anxious.

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