Whether they are born in captivity or stolen from the wild, elephants must be emotionally and mentally broken before people can climb onto their backs. Elephants who are destined for this grim fate are doomed from the day they’re born. Even though, in the wild, elephant mothers are highly protective and youngsters stay with their families for years (females for their entire lives and males until their pre- or early teens), baby elephants are taken from their frantic mothers so that their independence and spirit can be broken.
Elephant rides are archaic and cruel, and they offer no benefit whatsoever to the ever-shrinking population of these endangered animals. Only the most mercenary fair boards are still booking elephant exploiters like Have Trunk Will Travel and Hugo Liebel, who forces an ailing elephant named Nosey to travel the country. And international travel agencies, including Responsible Travel, no longer promote trips that include elephant treks, nor do STA Travel, the world’s largest student travel company; TUI Group, the world’s largest leisure, travel, and tourism company; Thomson Agency; and G Adventures. You can help elephants, too, by refusing to take rides on them when traveling.