Up Close and Personal
By far, my favorite part of the whole thing was getting to touch the elephants. After the show, the trainers and elephants play with the crowds, giving out elephant hugs and kisses and tons of photo ops. You are expected to tip them for this, by giving the money to the elephant, who passes it to the trainer with his trunk. I was happy to pay a little extra for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Is it Ethical?
As much as I enjoyed seeing the elephants, I did wonder what goes on behind the scenes and worried that the elephants might not be treated fairly. I mean, is it really right to train them for all of these gimmicks and make them walk around all day with tourists on their backs? But then, is it any different than using other animals for labour? It is certainly preferable to some zoos where I have seen elephants chained by the ankles. I truly hope that the elephants are treated well when the customers aren't there. I came away from here with a greater appreciation for these amazing animals and I think that is worth something. However, if I wasn't traveling with my kid crew, I would probably prefer one of the less touristy elephant sanctuaries.
After the trip I was motivated to redesign my elephant baby shower invitation, especially after seeing the cute little six month old elephant at Maesa. You can check out these designs and more in my Etsy shop!
Luke and I are married and have four little munchkins that travel the world with us. I blog about living overseas, travel, kids, education and graphic design.
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