For many tourists and visitors to Phuket, being able to see and interact with elephants is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For many animal lovers, it’s high on their must-do list. But if you’re planning a trip to Thailand, and visiting elephants is on your to-do list, please make sure you visit an ethical elephant sanctuary in Phuket during your time on the island.
Phuket is a main tourist hotspot in Thailand. While most elephant sanctuaries take very seriously their responsibility to care for and make a happy life for the elephants, there are still some that see their own financial interests as their number one priority. These unethical players have located their sanctuaries in Phuket to take advantage of the concentration of tourism.
Eco-tourism Responsible for Improving the Life of Domesticated Elephants
Thailand experienced a change in the welfare of the country’s domesticated elephant’s about ten to fifteen years ago with the rise of eco-tourism. Various authorities in the tourism industry and the media noticed that elephant trekking and shows where the elephants were forced to perform tricks for the audience were falling out of favor.
A new breed of tourist was much more interested in the animal’s well-being and seeing them in as much of a natural environment as possible.
As more of these ethical tourists began to be noticed by the tour package companies, hotels and transportation companies, they began to cater to them. Small sanctuaries became popular, and the funding they received allowed them to adopt even more elephants and spend more on their food and medical care.
Digital and Social media were soon buzzing with stories about the change in tourism, which drove more tourists to Thailand to visit the elephant sanctuaries. It also helped force more positive and humane treatment of elephants by caring for them. A new model of a sustainable and ethical elephant sanctuary was born in Phuket and Thailand as a whole due to the interest of these eco-tourists.
Many conservationists and wildlife professionals in Thailand were thrilled when they first noticed tourists being drawn to improving the elephant’s welfare. But they are fearful that it will be just a fad, and tourists will get interested in the unhealthy elephant attractions once again.
It’s up to the tourists and the media to maintain the interest in the elephant’s well-being and happiness. Visitors to Phuket need to perform research and ensure they’re only visiting ethical elephant organizations during their time on the island.
The more people visit these ethical sanctuaries, the more they will become the new standard in elephant tourism and the more money they’ll earn. This money can buy larger tracts of land to provide for the elephants, better food and medical care, and better compensation for the people who care for these animals.
On your next trip to Thailand, be a part of the trend and visit an ethical elephant sanctuary. You’ll feel good about helping a worthwhile cause, and you’ll have hours of fun interacting with the elephants.