Elephant-friendly travel tips

August 12 2019

To mark World Elephant Day, we’re sharing tips to help you become an elephant-friendly traveller.

The best place to see elephants is in the wild. But if you’re going to visit an elephant venue, make sure it allows elephants to be elephants, while educating visitors on their complex needs. A venue may call itself a sanctuary or rescue centre for elephants, but don’t assume this means it's higher welfare.

Do your research before booking and use our tips below to avoid being misled. Making elephant-friendly decisions can help to end the exploitation of elephants for tourist entertainment.

If you want to see elephants on your next holiday, keep these elephant friendly travel tips in mind.

1. Is touching allowed?

Only visit venues where you can look, not touch.

Elephants are wild animals that belong in the wild. If a venue allows you to get close enough to ride, bath or touch them, it’s because they’ve been cruelly trained. 

2. Are the elephants behaving like elephants?

If the elephants in a venue are not allowed to freely move and express natural behaviour, it’s not the place for you.

Elephants in the wild spend their days roaming long distances, grazing and socialising with other elephants, not confined in small enclosures or forced to perform.

3. Are there baby elephants there?

They might be cute, but if you can see or touch a baby elephant, especially without its mum, then the venue is not elephant-friendly.

Baby elephants are tourist magnets, but true elephant-friendly venues shouldn’t allow breeding. You shouldn’t be seeing young elephants, except for orphanages where babies are rescued from the wild.

4. Are the elephants and people safe?

Elephants should always be treated with kindness and respect, and hooks shouldn’t be used unless in a real emergency.

Being wild animals, captive elephants can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially if they're being crowded. Many tourists and mahouts are injured and killed each year. Even in elephant-friendly venues you’ll often see mahouts accompanying elephants at a distance, to keep everyone safe.

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Be part of the solution

Right now, thousands of elephants around the world are suffering in the name of tourism. But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

You have the power to change the world for elephants. Help make life better for elephants by sharing our elephant friendly checklist on social media:  

Use our elephant-friendly tips to find the right venue for you and for elephants.

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