Asian elephants are a greatly respected species in Asian continents, and locals will go to great lengths to protect their native animals. But in recent times during the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been self-isolating... leaving these magnificent creatures to roam freely.
Now, the group of elephants who have now been set free from serving tourists, and the video is unbelievable...
The Asian elephant is a majestic species.
via: Getty ImagesWith it being the largest mammal on the Asian continent, this species of elephant is greatly respected in cultures all around Asia.
They are extremely sociable animals...
via: Getty ImagesThe Asian elephant is usually spotted in groups of around 6 or 7 females, and they are known to join other groups of elephants to form a larger group.
This elephant is an important cultural symbol...
via: Getty ImagesAnd they are very much loved and respected across the Asian continents.
They symbolize wisdom and royal power...
via: Getty ImagesAnd many religious groups worship these beautiful animals.
These elephants are that loved, in fact, that they are celebrated every year...The Elephant Festival in India is celebrated every year in Jaipur, and it focuses solely on the Asian elephant and its contributions to Indian culture. It attracts thousands of guests and it is very much a big part of Indian culture.
But the festival has caused controversy in the past...
The Elephant Festival was canceled in the years 2012 and 2014 due to protests from animal activists.They stated that the paints that are applied to the elephant's skin are laced with chemicals, and would be potentially harmful to these wild animals. Activists also argued that the elephants taking part in the festival were being subjected to "performing" and, as a result, the Animal Welfare Board needed to grant permission for the animals to be used.
The Elephant Festival isn't the only celebration to use the animals, however...The Temple of the Tooth, Buddhism's holiest shrine in Sri Lanka, holds the annual festival with traditional drummers and dancers as well as nearly 100 tamed Asian elephants.
The elephants involved in the festival are trained and come from sanctuaries...And the majority of these majestic animals are treated with respect and are looked after efficiently and kindly.
But this sadly doesn't apply to all elephants...From seeing the way in which wild animals were treated in circuses, it is clear that some animals that are tamed and are kept in sanctuaries and captivity will be abused and mistreated at the hands of sick and twisted individuals.
There are organizations out there battling to protect these elephants...Save Elephant Foundation is a foundation that is dedicated to protecting Asian elephants all across the continent. Alongside working tirelessly to preserve and protect these beautiful animals, they have also set up Elephant Nature Park which is a safe sanctuary for abused elephants in Thailand.
They promote the humane treatment of elephants and all wildlife..."It is our mission to save the Asian elephant from extinction and give domesticated elephants a life worth living by preserving habitat and increasing public awareness on humane treatment practices," the foundation stated.
They encourage the kind and respectful treatment of all elephants...The foundation gives tourists and guests the opportunity to visit and meet the elephants that are under their care, which involves bathing, stroking, and feeding the animals, rather than riding them.
And as for the wild elephants...
via: Getty ImagesTourists are encouraged by locals to respect the natural habitats of the animals and to give them their space at all times.
But of course...
via: Getty ImagesIn the recent months, the population of us humans roaming around has dwindled thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
People have been self-isolating all around the world...
via: Getty ImagesEspecially in China, which is where the virus was first discovered back in December 2019.
And self-isolation means...
via: Getty ImagesNo tourists.
Businesses all around the world have been forced to alter or close due to the lack of tourism...
via: Getty ImagesAnd Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand is one of those.
Maesa Elephant Camp sadly promotes elephant riding.
via: Getty ImagesEvery day for the last forty-four-years, the elephants at Maesa have had huge wooden and metal carriages strapped to their backs, on which they would carry tourists.
This is no life for an elephant.
via: Getty ImagesBut thanks to the drastic drop in tourism, seventy-eight of these elephants have now been set free after years of hard work.
Elephant riding is a huge tourist attraction in Thailand.
via: Getty ImagesCamp director Anchalee Kalampichit said in an interview, "since we entered the business in 1976, riding on the elephants has always been the favorite activity of tourists."
The elephants have been liberated from their work.
via: Getty Images"But because the coronavirus has spread there have been fewer tourists and eventually the government ordered us to close, so we have removed the chairs to liberate the elephants," she went on to explain.
Because the seats have been disposed of, it is looking unlikely that these elephants will ever carry tourists again.
via: Getty Images"We will welcome tourists to enjoy learning about the elephants’ ways of life naturally instead of using them to entertain the tourists," Anchalee said.
The camp will be completely transformed when it reopens...
via: Getty ImagesThe elephants are now free to explore the grounds, with the camp set to operate as a place for visitors to observe the animals when it reopens.
It will be a struggle financially, however...
via: Getty Images"The cost of taking care of the elephants and 300 staff is 5 million THB ($153,685) per month. So for now, we have to bear that expense without income from tourists," Anchalee went on to explain. "But we will not leave anyone behind and will try to take the best care of the elephants for as long as we can. Now we are planting vegetables for the staff to eat as one of the ways we can reduce the expenses."