At One Green Planet, we are committed to providing information to our readers that will help them make informed decisions about their humane and green lifestyle. That’s why, when it was brought to our attention that our recent video post “Adorable Baby Elephant Goes for a Swim” was contributing to animal exploitation, we listened to our Green Monsters and did our homework. As it turns out, watching baby elephants play in the surf isn’t as innocent as it sounds.

Sarah Blaine of Mahouts.org explains it like this, “[Baby elephants] are forced into the sea to amuse tourists and a nail is used to make them comply.

What she is referring to is an actual nail, concealed in the hand of the Mahout, which is repeatedly pierced into the baby elephant’s ear. To the tourist, it looks like the baby elephant is being guided, when in fact the baby is being stabbed into submission.

Mahouts Elephant NailPhoto courtesy of Mahouts.org
 

Evidence of this can be seen in a video below produced by Mahouts.org. This is the kind of video that should be shared and circulated. It is the truth behind the videos of baby elephants playing in the sea.

Saving Asian Elephants

Mahouts.org was founded by a family of four in loving memory of Somsri, a 70-year-old elephant whose life at Boon Lotts Elephant Sanctuary (BLES) was cut short, due to her 70 previous years of pain and suffering. Fortunately, she was able to enjoy a couple of weeks of freedom before she died.

Organizations like Mahouts, BLES, SaveElephant.org, and Elephant Asia Rescue and Survival Foundation (EARS) are working hard to end the use of elephants for entertainment purposes in the Asian tourist industry. They are doing so by raising awareness about elephants in the tourism industry, teaching mahouts about other ways of earning livings, and providing sanctuary space for elephants.

Five Reasons These Baby Elephant Videos Are Cruel

Here are five reasons, according to SaveElephant.org, why videos of baby elephants “playing” on the beach are cruel:

  1. The elephants are not doing this activity voluntarily.
  2. Salt water is not good for elephants.
  3. The beach environment is unsuitable for them as there are no shaded areas.
  4. The baby elephant has been separated (usually captured) from its family.
  5. The baby elephant is being forced to work and will eventually end up begging in the streets and/or end up in a trekking camp.

Once an elephant reaches the age of three, they are no longer deemed “cute” for display. They are then forced into a life of begging in the streets with their mahouts, are not fed properly, and suffer greatly. When they reach the age of eight, they end up in trekking camps, where tourists ride them through the jungles. Elephants have fragile spines and are not meant to carry weight on their backs. As a result, many elephants end up with back problems and even broken backs!

How You Can Help

The Asian Elephant might seem too far away to help, but there are several ways to get involved:

Lead image source: Wikipedia Commons