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In Thailand, elephant rides, trekking safaris and entertainment shows are popular tourist attractions
During my recent early-May visit to Thailand, I found that elephant rides are a popular tourist attraction in the country despite some incidents of the tourists being trampled to death by the elephants.

Besides the rides, getting photographed with elephants embracing you with their trunks is another attraction. Also, at some places, circus-like elephant shows are performed along with trekking on elephant back in the forest.

Instead of buying a ticket for elephant ride, I preferred to watch them from a distance and take pictures. I consider it unethical to use elephants for tourism and entertainment.

It was told that Thailand has a large number of elephants and more than half of its elephant population is held in captivity and trained for tourism purposes as they work as a big draw for tourists. It seems that in Thailand, elephant tourism has become a separate segment of the tourism industry.

Like in India, particularly in Jaipur, the city I reside in, the elephants in Thailand are often kept in inadequate conditions and subjected to extremely cruel training practices that involve chaining, underfeeding, herding in small enclosures, beating and stabbing with bull-hooks.

We need to know that when elephants are deprived of their natural habitat, chained, trained and forced to repeat monotonous routines, not only such practices dramatically shorten their lives but also make their behaviour erratic.

A growing number of elephant sanctuaries and training centres in Thailand should pay attention to proper look after of the trained elephants and they should avoid making them over-work for more profits.

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