A day with Thai elephants


Jan 6th, 2018, 03:53 PM
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PS - this article has a useful checklist for those interested in ethical animal tourism.
khunwilko is offline  
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Jan 7th, 2018, 08:11 AM
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Haha - You're right about 'conservationalist' - can't wait for that edit feature. The Anantara remains on the top of all ethical tourism lists and Roberts seems to be the spokesperson for elephant conservation movement in Thailand. Our experience there was phenomenal and inspiring.

I was mainly wondering about the riding of elephants, but it seems as if that might not be happening anymore. This piece refers to 'walking with the elephants' although there is a shot of a yoga pose atop an elephant's back.

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Jan 7th, 2018, 08:26 PM
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"Roberts seems to be the spokesperson for elephant conservation movement in Thailand" - the problem I have with this is there is actually no such position, and attributing to much weight to the person rather than the message can lead to all sorts of complications.
Yes - when it comes to wildlife I'm more likely to listen to David Attenborough than Donald Trump, but any statements need to be taken with a good look at the science and the logic.

The rule of thumb with elephants is that if they are offering rides then they are falling short of conservation standards. There is also a question mark about close contacts with captive animals with regard to conservation and the amount of time they are made to "interact" with humans.

There are MANY places in Thailand which claim to be "conservationists", to varying degrees of accuracy.
This actually highlights one of the problems in Thailand and that is the lack of a centralised and law-based platform for elephant conservation. The whole thing is fragmented and left almost totally unregulated to the whims of private enterprise.

No elephant centre is ever going to advertise "Come and exploit elephants with us!" - they ALL make varying claims to entice customers and put their minds at rest.....but there is virtually no effective way of checking up. There is virtually no government monitoring and virtually no welfare laws to protect the animals. In general elephants are legally less protected than a pick up truck.

Roberts - The "street elephants" etc you see are rented - the concept of "mahout" is basically a myth - most of them have little or no real training in elephant husbandry - they just pick it up as they go along without any rhyme or reason behind it, the object being just to make the elephant as compliant as possible - this is not what is best for the animal. Roberts acknowledges that he has to train the mahouts in more humane practices.
So renting saves capital outlay but I wonder how it protects the owners/users respectively from any legal obligations. If the owner wants the animal back want can he do?
....and quite frankly I would have to question various aspects of doing Yoga on an elephants back.
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Jan 10th, 2018, 12:26 AM
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The OP is still posting. See, for example, https://www.fodors.com/community/asi...edit-cards.cfm

In contrast, crellston hasn’t been seen on the Asia forum since his last post here. I find his absense a serious loss.
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Jan 10th, 2018, 02:29 AM
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I do hope crellston comes back.
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Jan 20th, 2018, 08:50 PM
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Just leaving Thailand after three weeks here. We visited Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai. NO riding and No tricks.
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