Vietnam’s Dak Lak Province Is Banning Elephant Rides
December 2, 2020
In May a mahout, or handler, was killed after being attacked by a captive 48-year-old elephant in Dak Lak. Two months later, in July, a female tourist from Hung Yen Province fell off an elephant and was injured. The move of “accidents and animal protection concerns” prompted authorities to temporarily suspend the tour of elephant rides. However, while a ban on elephant rides in Dak Lak is, without doubt, good news for those with trunks, it could be better. “Instead [of offering rides], Dak Lak, home to many of Vietnam’s surviving elephants, will consider other services such as bathing and feeding the animals to offer tourists new experiences.”
According to VnExpress International, three captive elephants delivered stillborn calves in the past 30 years and only four calves have been born to the wild population of about 100 pachyderms.
There are more than 3,000 pachyderms, including calves, being held captive at tourist attractions in Asia, many of which are treated poorly for the sake of entertainment. The habitat loss, contamination of food, and exploitation for tourism purposes are the main factors that influence the population of the pachyderms.
According to the guide to elephant-friendly tourism from World Animal Protection (WAP), “If a venue allows you to get close enough to ride, bathe or touch them, it’s because they’ve been cruelly trained,” adding: “Only visit venues where you can look, not touch.”
Besides riding, all interactions with the elephants, such as bathing, feeding, and petting, are based on fear-based training which is cruel to the elephant.
Learn more on why we should avoid all and any elephant interaction here.