Elephants at Amber Fort in India

World Elephant Day: Elephants never forget their suffering for entertainment


With over half a million people putting pressure on 'the world's largest travel site', and a government looking to ban elephant rides, giant leaps are being made for wildlife. But more action is needed…

This World Elephant Day, we’re shining a light on the appalling cruelty inflicted on Indian elephants for tourists rides and shows. As we do so, the number of people who have signed our petition demanding the 'world's largest travel site' TripAdvisor stops profiting from such cruel attractions has risen to over 510,000.

The issue even has the attention of the Indian Supreme Court, which may imminently pass a ban on elephant rides in Goa and Rajasthan. If it does, this will directly impact elephants at tourist attraction Amber Fort in Rajasthan (known locally as Amer Fort). It is visited by more than 5,000 people every day, and over 100 elephants are forced to give rides.

Main welfare concerns at Amber Fort:

  • Young elephants suffer an extremely cruel and intensive breaking-in process to make them submissive enough to perform and give rides.
  • The use of pointed metal bull hooks, wooden battens, and whips on elephants causes severe pain.
  • Most elephants at Amber Fort suffer health problems including issues with their foot pads, abcessed eyes and severe wounds from the seat on their backs.
  • Elephants are often not fed properly. They are given chapatti and sugar canes. Too much of this is bad for them.
  • Many elephants are reported to have insufficient or non-existent provision for water.

More voices for wildlife

Most tourists take an elephant ride because they understandably love elephants. Many of them are unaware of the intense physical and psychological pain involved.

Captive elephants at tourist attractions such as Amber Fort endure horrendous conditions for decades, this includes chaining and close confinement, loneliness and isolation, and food and water depravation. If and when they are free of it, their suffering stays with them for the rest of their lives through emotional and physical wounds, as well as the lasting effects of having not behaved as they would have done in the wild. Put simply - these elephants never forget.

We're continuing to expose the abuse inflicted on thousands of these magnificent animals in India and across the world. Tourists and travel companies such as TripAdvisor can stop elephant rides in their tracks before it’s too late.

A tourist's once in a lifetime opportunity riding an elephant, can mean a lifetime of misery for the animal. If you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal, the attraction is cruel. Don’t go.

What you can do

We have a long history of campaigning to end the use of wild animals for entertainment. We ended bear dancing in India, Turkey and Greece by working over a decade with local partners and government officials.

Over the past years over 100 travel companies across the world committed to no longer sell and promote venues that offer elephant rides and shows to their customers. You can see the full list here.

World Animal Protection will continue to expose the suffering of wild animals in entertainment and look to educate the four million tourists who visit wildlife tourist attractions every year.

We now want TripAdvisor to recognise the huge opportunity to help protect the 550,000 wild animals suffering at the hands of irresponsible tourist venues. With 300 million website visitors per month its influence is immense. The company now needs to take a bigger step, and do what is right for wild animals.

Over half a million people have signed our petition. Join them today.

A tourist's once in a lifetime opportunity riding an elephant, can mean a lifetime of misery for the animal.

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