Although I doubted if riding on an elephant is an act of "not treating an elephant like an elephant", I finally went for it, coz I've opted to follow the majority, for the day.
That's my first experience, and I swear, it would be the last time in my life as well.
There were some notes about giving food to elephants:
- Please feed the elephants the food sold by our camp. This food is the healthiest for the elephants.
Haan: How do they define "healthiest"? The food went through any stringent examination?
- When feeding the elephants the bananas, please give one bunch or half at a time. This keeps the elephants from losing patience.
- Do not tease the elephants with any food.
Haan: If someone does this, I can only say, he deserves the outcome!
A full grown Asian elephant can weigh up to 5,400 kg, although it's a herbivore, eating only a mixture of grass, leaves, twigs, bamboo, fruits and berries. An adult elephant eats approximately 250 kg per day, whilst the water consumption can be up to 150 liters daily.
Though eating a lot, elephants have inefficient digestive system, which only digests about 50% of the food eaten.
The marketing people write so to sell elephant riding tours:
Come to experience the thrill of standing close to an elephant, touching and smelling them and even riding on these majestic animals, on a Jungle Safari. For the elephants this is easy work in comparison to the alternatives and for YOU, a wonderful sense of satisfaction at the end of the day, knowing that you have played a small but important part in enabling their survival.
Are you attracted to such statements? How much do you agree with it?
WONDERFUL SENSE OF SATISFACTION? PLAY AN IMPORTANT PART IN ENABLING THEIR SURVIVAL?
Are the statements true or misleading?
As I previously wrote, I felt kinda guilty during the ride. I tried to reduce the negative feeling by telling myself, I was just helping the elephant to have some exercises, to keep it fit!!
Sometime I could be a good liar to myself!!
I read the notice board at a later time. It says:
- Please take all photographs either at the beginning or the end of the ride.
- Personal photographs should not be taken by the mahout. His job is to ensure safety at all times.
Seems like no one follows the rules including the mahouts :)
On the way, we passed by a lot of "stalls" selling banana and sugar cane. You can buy some for the elephant, at 20B each.
The price is clearly stated. See it?
I couldn't stop thinking, is elephant riding actually ethical? Am I crazy?
I read that Asian elephants have poor vision. Their eyes are exceptionally small in comparison to the size of head and they can see clearly only up to a distance of about 10 meters. However, they have excellent hearing and good sense of smell.
The journey was a slow-paced one, going through hills and rivers, ups and downs. We then arrived at the Lisu Village and paid a short visit there.