Earlier this year, we were contacted by two animal activists regarding elephant welfare – after we’d published some stories on elephant sanctuaries in Asia.
Adore Animals Foundation Managing Director Lisa Louden had visited one elephant sanctuary in Laos and another in Thailand, and wrote about her experiences there. She went as a full-paying tourist to experience these magnificent animals up-close.
Both sanctuaries she visited claimed to be established from rescued elephants. In the majority of cases the elephants were bought from illegal loggers who overworked them or other abusive situations, and provided with a mahout (elephant carer). The money tourists pay to attend these camps goes towards running the organisation, paying the mahouts, feeding and caring for the elephants and towards funds to buy more elephants their freedom.
What she learnt and saw there and what she’s learnt on her return hasn’t always correlated.
With the help of the activists, Lisa (a former journalist) began researching elephant welfare in Asia. She discovered a great deal, but there’s still much more to be uncovered. So, in a series of articles running this week, Lisa will provide an overview of her research on the elephant tourism industry and provide tips on how to make informed decisions on how and where to interact with these beautiful creatures in Asia.
We’ll post this series on our website and on our Facebook page, and we welcome your comments and discussion, as well as any further information you can provide.