When Vivien headed off on the trip of a lifetime to Thailand last year, she brought back more than just a sun tan.
Vivien was looking forward to exploring the south-east Asian idyll. During her break she decided to volunteer for a week at an elephant nature park in Northern Thailand.
“It was a life-changing experience,” says Vivien, “It inspired us to take action to help save these beautiful beasts from near extinction.”
The plight of elephants in Africa is widely recognised. But far less is known of the desperate threat facing Asian elephants. Their population is just 5% of African elephants. Numbers of Asian elephants have declined from estimates of a million or more in the late 19th century to scarcely 40,000 today. Around 30,000 of these exist in the wild and 10,000 are captive.
Of those, many are trapped in the tourism industry, where they undergo a distressing ritual known as ‘phajaan’ or ‘crushing’. This is designed to make them submit to their human trainers at all times. This physical abuse crushes the elephant’s spirit to ensure they can be used for a tourist ride or photo-opportunity. Whatever their master decides.
But there is hope. Vivien says, “I was heartened to see animal activists in countries like Thailand, trying to make positive change through elephant sanctuaries like the one we volunteered at, as well as campaigning for changes to the law. Elephants are being rescued from horrendous circumstances and given respect and dignity within a safe setting, where members of the public can still visit and enjoy these beautiful creatures. “
Because of their experience, Pink Parcel is proud to be supporting Save The Asian Elephants.
This not-for-profit association is made up of experts and campaigners who aim to inform and educate tourists to change the culture while simultaneously lobbying politicians in the UK and EU to raise the matter with politicians in Asian countries affected. Thank you for helping us to help them. We couldn't do it without you.
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