Elephant Tourism

For thousands of years, captive Asian elephants have been used by man for war, transportation, logging, ceremonies, and construction. Today, many of these traditional roles have been replaced by work in the tourism industry.  The popularity of circuses, festivals, shows, elephant back rides, painting, and begging are growing in countries such as Thailand, Laos, and India. Elephants which were once taught to push, pull, and lift, are now learning to beg on the streets, ride a bicycle, throw darts, play football, or paint pictures.

Captive elephants, many having come from the wild, often endure harmful practices which result in poor quality of life, physical and mental illness, and even premature death.  Wild elephants are also impacted by tourism as jeep safaris inundate forest reserves.  The next sections outline common situations in which tourists may come in contact with elephants. Here is the information you need to make educated decisions so you may enjoy these precious animals while helping to save them.

For a list of recommended elephant friendly park, sanctuaries, and activities, please click the link, Responsible Tourism.


When elephants are forced to work in city streets, their lives are spent in constant misery and peril.

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Whether sold in a holiday package or as an impromptu outdoor activity, trekking is a major cause of illness, infection, and overwork.

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Painting & Shows

Learn about the abuse and harsh training techniques elephants endure in order to provide entertainment.

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Temple Elephants

Even though temple elephants are venerated as religious symbols, their lives are far from ideal.

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Jeep Safaris

Jeep Safari LandingEnter the world of wild elephants with respect, care, and awareness.

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Elephant Tourism landing1What is an elephant sanctuary?  Learn how to distinguish a good sanctuary from a tourist trap.

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