A viral image of an elephant on social media illustrates the devastating toll that tourist rides can have on the animals. The Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand posted the image on Instagram (WFFT). It shows Pai Lin, a 71-year-old female elephant who spent 25 years working in the tourism industry and was forced to carry up to six visitors at once. Her spine has been deformed as a result.
The group said that Pai Lin’s spine, which should naturally be rounded and elevated, was sunken and caved in due to the strain of constant activity. “This constant pressure on their [Elephants’] body can damage the tissue and bones on their back, causing irreparable physical harm to their spine.”
Look at WFFT’s post down below:
Boon Chuey, another elephant whose spine was altered by the tourist rides, was also featured in a photo by WFFT. Boon Chuey, another one of the wildlife rescue organization’s elephants, “had a damaged back from years of hard labour,” the organisation stated.
WFFT’s post has received more than 26,000 likes since it was shared. Other users applauded the organisation for raising awareness in the comment area, while others demanded a stop to tourist rides.
One user said, “Thank you for spreading this story throughout the world. Maybe others will see why this is awful and decide not to ride elephants or support any kind of cruelty. “Very horrifying, and done just for human enjoyment. These unfortunate creatures, who live on our planet with us but are nevertheless expected to be at our beck and call. This must stop; it is beyond sad and terrible “one person said.
“We have no right to exploit animals for our pleasure,” a third commenter argued. “Elephants are wild, gregarious animals and deserve the freedom to live with their families.” “Horrific.. makes my heart bleed,” said a fourth.
The group stated in a CNN interview that because elephant rides are a common tourist activity throughout Southeast Asia, the animals spend decades of their lives carrying tourists on a cast-iron seat that is fastened to their backs with ropes and blankets. The backs of the animals may irreparably sink under the weight of these seats and their occupants. According to the group, Boon Chuey and Pai Lin still have scars from the pressure areas of the seats on their backs.
“It’s crucial to realise that elephants are not bred to be ridden like horses are. They are stolen from the wild and kept in appalling conditions despite not being domesticated animals “WFFT director and founder Edwin Wiek remarked.
In addition, Mr. Wiek stated that when tourism picked up after the Covid epidemic, the group was publicising Pai Lin’s tale to educate people about elephant cruelty and to urge them never to ride an elephant.