Elephants used as tourist attractions scrapped due to COVID-19 downturn


On Wednesday, 25th March several elephants were set free as their owners removed the heavy wooden chairs tied to their backs which are used for carrying tourists.

Thanks to the Covid-19 coronavirus, the jumbos at the Maesa elephant camp in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, that have been giving rides to tourists for over four decades have finally got a break.

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As the virus keeps spreading and a ban on such businesses opening has been put, owners have decided to remove the huge wooden and metal carriages that are strapped to the big mammals’ backs, as reported by yahoo.

According to the camp director Anchalee Kalampichit, this was the first time in 44 years that these elephants have been freed from the heavy loads.

The company took the initiative to make some changes in their business to allow the elephants to roam freely in the grounds and operate as a place for visitors to observe the animals. Thus all 78 of the jumbos will never have to wear the huge wooden and metal carriages ever again.

“Since we entered the business in 1976, riding on the elephants has always been the favourite activity of tourists.

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“But because the coronavirus has spread there have been fewer tourists and eventually the government ordered us to close so we have removed the chairs to liberate the elephants”, she explained.

“We are not planning to put the seat supports back on the elephants, even if we can operate again. We want to change the style of the place and find more natural ways that the public can enjoy the elephants.

“We will welcome tourists to enjoy learning about the elephants’ ways of life naturally instead of using them to entertain the tourists.”