Each year, millions of tourists flock to Thailand in the hopes of interacting with Asian elephants. Popular tourist encounters include everything from taking selfies with calves to riding on an elephant in the jungle. Tragically, these “entertaining” endeavors often lead tourists to believe that these excursions are normal and somehow acceptable. Most tourists are unaware of the abuse elephants face when in captivity but considering how endangered Asian elephants are, the facade needs to end now. Between poaching, the tourism industry, and habitat loss, both African and Asian elephants are in danger of becoming extinct within our lifetimes.

According to the National Geographic, the median lifespan of a zoo-born female is just 17 years with Asian elephants living up to 19 years in captivity and 42 in the wild. If that’s not telling, we don’t know what is – but it comes as little surprise as wild elephants form close relationships with other family members. Calves will stay with their mothers for around 16 years, but the elephant tourism business shatters this bond at the ripe age of six months. The fulfilling life these animals lead in the wild makes any captive scenario seem unbearable.

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Thankfully, there are many organizations working to protect and conserve Asian elephants. Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand is a non-profit organization in Thailand that works to rescue, rehabilitate and care for wildlife that has been exploited by people. One of the elephants in their care, a baby named Pin recently turned two years old. Pin and her family were rescued from the trekking industry and are now safe in the care of the organization’s Thai Elephant Refuge. What do you do to celebrate a baby elephant’s birthday? You throw a party, of course!

Here comes the birthday girl, Pin now! Wondering what kind of gifts she’ll receive?

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Pin enjoyed yummy fruits and vegetables on her special day! 

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Pin didn’t celebrate alone! Her mother Pun was also there to enjoy the yummy treats!

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Pins aunts, Kaew Petch and La Ong Dao also came to wish the birthday girl lots of happy years!

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The elephants seem to really be enjoying the festivities! 

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No one missed out. There were plenty of fruits and vegetables to go around!

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Pin seems to be saying “thanks for the great party!”

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Thanks to the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, Pin and her family will enjoy many more years chain free. Seeing how content this elephant family looks in their safe haven, it is incredibly clear this is how these beautiful creatures should live. Please boycott these cruel tourist attractions and tell your friends and family to boycott them as well. Instead of supporting cruelty, support the wonderful efforts of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand. Visit their website for ways on how you can get involved to save elephants.

All image source: Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand 

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