On the surface, the elephant tourism industry of Southeast Asia presents itself as a sweet, harmless activity for visitors to engage in, offering them a unique experience with an exotic animal. After all, what could be cuter than watching an elephant “paint” a picture? However, the shocking cruelty that the elephants must endure behind the scenes is anything but cute.
Lek Chailert, the founder of the incredible Elephant Nature Park sanctuary, has now released a video to her Facebook page, showing us just how stressful captivity truly is for an elephant. The young female elephant in the clip engages in a heartbreakingly obvious display of stereotypic behavior: wagging her head from side to side, flapping her ears repeatedly, and moving her feet back and forth in a futile attempt to release herself from the chains that bind her. Stereotypic behaviors are stress-induced responses to captivity, never observed in wild animals.
Chailert said, “Surely it doesn’t take even a minute for us to understand her bitter life ahead, and the insanity of her captivity. This young girl (was shackled) and taken away from her mother when she was very young and still nursing. She is utterly lost to herself and to her family. She is expected to perform with good behavior or else. She longs for a nature almost forgotten. She is one of so many just like her. (Would) anyone allow our children to be abused like this? If we think all babies have the right to be free, this baby elephant deserves (to be free) too!”
You can find out more about the lifesaving work of the Elephant Nature Park through their website or Facebook page. To learn more about the hidden cruelty behind elephant captivity, read some of these articles:
- 3 Things Captive Elephants Never Experience
- Why Elephants Don’t Belong in Zoos
- The Shocking Secrets Behind Thailand’s Tourism Industry (VIDEO)
- Why Elephant Trekking is Cruel, and Risks the Lives of Humans and Elephants
- Elephant Artists? Here’s Why Making an Elephant Paint is Cruel, not Cute