Elephants are wildlife. Not entertainers.

15 September 2015

The appalling cruelty inflicted upon Asian elephants used for tourist rides and shows is now spreading throughout Southern Africa.

Today we have released a report detailing the rise of elephant rides and shows in Southern Africa; a tourist attraction that is already well established in parts of Asia.

Elephant rides are a popular and lucrative tourist activity, but behind the scenes the animals are taken from their mothers, their spirit is broken, and they endure cruel and stressful ‘training’ to make them tolerate being ridden. If not addressed urgently hundreds more African elephants could face a lifetime of cruel confinement, beatings and other harsh treatment, all for tourist entertainment.

A lifetime of cruelty

In addition to the report, we have released a powerful animated film to reveal the lifetime of cruelty elephants suffer as part of the tourist entertainment industry. Please watch the video below.

The situation for elephants in Africa is urgent

Asian elephants have suffered for decades to meet the growing demand for elephant rides and shows on holidays. The industry is now spreading through Southern Africa.

There are now at least 36 commercial elephant venues, holding 215 captive elephants, operating across Southern Africa. If left unchecked hundreds more African elephants will face lifetimes of cruelty and abuse for tourist entertainment.

The scale of abuse to elephants will get even worse if rides and entertainments are allowed to spread across Africa. We want to stop this happening before it is too late. With your help, we can.

Kate Nustedt, Director of Wildlife at World Animal Protection:

“You’re taking the wild out of Africa by breaking the spirit of their elephants so they can be ridden and perform for tourists.  People who love animals will be shocked about the cruelty behind the scenes of elephant rides and they will no longer want to do it.  There are many places in southern Africa for tourists to see elephants in the wild, and we’re encouraging people to see them there, not in cruel tourist entertainment.

“We’re working with the industry to end cruel wildlife tourism.  As a result of our work so far over 20 travel companies across the world, including TUI Nederland, Intrepid Travel, Apollo, Albatros Travel and World Expeditions have stopped offering and promoting elephant rides or shows to their customers. We’re calling on all operators to do the same – and to show their commitment to this by signing the World Animal Protection Elephant-friendly Tourism Pledge.”

A life entertaining tourists is no life for a wild animal

Across the world animals are being taken from the wild and bred in captivity to be used in the tourist entertainment industry. The demand for wildlife holiday experiences is driving the cruel animal entertainment industry.

We have the power to reduce that demand and change the industry now. Join our global movement to stop this cruelty

Part of the movement already? Share our video and help us reach more people around the world.

"People who love animals will be shocked about the cruelty behind the scenes of elephant rides and they will no longer want to do it."

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