Launch of life-size elephant petition to protect elephants

12 August 2014

On World Elephant Day, August 12th, our team in the Netherlands is launching the first ever 3D-printed petition

From the 12-30th August, our Dutch team will be asking people to make an online pledge that they will never ride an elephant again.

Each time a name is added to the petition, five printers will be set in motion at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, and a small piece of the life-size 3D elephant will be printed.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the cruelty inflicted on thousands of elephants in tourism, and to reduce the demand for elephant rides and shows.

We hope that this innovative campaign will reach more people than ever before, and encourage Dutch travellers to enjoy elephants in alternative ways, such as observing them in the wild or visiting responsible sanctuaries.

Most of the captive elephants in the tourism industry have been captured illegally from the wild. Because elephants are not domesticated, they are taken from their mothers at a very young age to have their 'spirits broken'. This is a stressful and painful process which involves restraining the young elephant and denying it food and water. In many cases, severe pain is inflicted to speed up the process. Though this process is short, it leaves a permanent psychological scar on the animal.

Tour operators

Last year, 15 Dutch tour operators stopped offering elephants rides and shows as a result of our team's work in the Netherlands. Many of these operators are now supporting our campaign to spread awareness of the issue. Arke, which stopped offering elephant rides and shows in 2010, is an official sponsor of the campaign.

Facts and figures

  • Elephant rides are popular in Nepal, India and Thailand
  • There are around 25,000 elephants in captivity worldwide
  • Approximately 4-5000 elephants are used in the tourism industry

Get involved

If you are a Netherlands resident, please sign the pledge to add a piece to the 3D life-size elephant.

If you are outside the Netherlands, watch the elephant grow on the airport live feed and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter

Each time a name is added, a small piece of the life-size 3D elephant will be printed.
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