Phuket Zoo is a beautiful vacation destination. It’s home to some of Thailand’s most gorgeous beaches and it’s just a boat ride away from other incredibly Thai islands. Unfortunately, because it’s such a popular tourist location, there is a lot of animal exploitation. A “tiger sanctuary” there has been exposed as a sham that actually mistreats and exploits the tigers. And the Phuket Zoo forces elephants to perform, recently causing the death of a suffering baby elephant that activists were trying hard to liberate. They also keep a tiger on chains all day to charge tourists for photos.

The wild animals in Thailand suffer because of the tourism industry, and sadly aren’t left alone. A recent video shows a tour guide forcibly pinning a baby elephant down in the water so that a tourist can take photos. Another tourist can be seen sitting on the back of a fully grown elephant in the water.

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In the wild, an elephant would never allow a human to climb onto its back. In order to get elephants submissive enough for this behavior they are put through the soul-crushing phajaan process and threatened with bullhooks. The video shows clearly that a baby elephant is uncomfortable and in distress when forced to do things for the entertainment and pleasure of a tourist. That’s enough to prove that this is completely unnatural.

Elephants don’t deserve to be mistreated and exploited for profit. But even worse, the coral reefs in the water at Phuket, Thailand are also suffering. Animal activists say that forcing the elephants into the water for the tourists is damaging the coral reefs of the beach. The coral reefs there are legally protected and reefs are an important part of the marine ecosystem.

If this upsets you and you want better for the elephants and the oceans, sign this petition asking Thai authorities to shut down these exploitative practices of the Phuket tourism industry.

Also, please do not support facilities or tour guides that use wild animals while on vacation. Wild animals’ lives are more important than your social media posts. It’s not worth supporting an industry that mistreats, abuses, and exploits animals just to get a good photo. To learn more about this, please see How Social Media is Impacting These 4 Endangered Species.

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