Elephant rides may be marketed as fun and innocent experiences, but in reality, this “attraction” is torturous for the animals and dangerous for the humans involved. Yet still, opportunities to ride an elephant remain easy to find around the world.

For instance, “trekking camps” in Thailand offer visitors the chance to be carried through the jungle on the backs of these pachyderms, an experience which is far less magical than it seems when you consider that the elephants, who are meant to roam wild, are kept in chains and beaten with bullhooks to get them to act as desired.


For four long years, a sweet elephant named Boon Dee suffered at one of these camps in Pattaya, Thailand. As a result of poor treatment and neglect, Boon Dee was severely emaciated, had abscesses all over her body, and had gone half blind.

Thankfully, a team of volunteers from the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) Elephant Refuge stepped in to get this gentle giant the medical attention she desperately needed.

Boon Dee’s owners, who were shocked and horrified when they saw what had happened to the poor creature over the course of her time at the camp, contacted WFFT in hopes that they could help secure a better future for the elephant. The WFFT team quickly sprung into action to rehabilitate Boon Dee and arrange for her to spend the rest of her days at their sanctuary. 

Thanks to the hard work of caring people, Boon Dee is now officially a member of the herd at the WFFT Elephant Refuge, and her days of transporting tourists on her back for hours on end are finally over!


At last, she is free to romp around and splash in the water as she pleases in her new home at the refuge. Plus, Boon Dee has been reunited with Gan Da, another rescued elephant she was friends with years ago when the two were placed in a camp in Chiang Rai together. What a heartwarming story!

We can’t thank Boon Dee’s owners and the kind people at the refuge enough for showing compassion and doing whatever it took to get this majestic elephant a new lease on life! If you’d like to help WFFT continue caring for abused elephants and placing them in more natural homes, please consider donating to this awesome organization here.

And don’t forget to share the dark truth about elephant rides with everyone in your network! Together, we can help put an end to this inhumane tourist attraction.


All Image Source: Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand/Facebook