Maesa Tourist park unchains the Elephants
The Elephants in Maesa tourist park in Chinag Mai Thailand will no longer give rides to tourists. The park is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Elephants in Maesa Park Also performed tricks such as throwing darts and painting pictures. Such wildlife tourism has been heavily criticized in recent years. The owner of the park said the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated her decision revamp the park and focus on educating tourists about elephants instead.
Anchalee Kalampichit, the owner of Maesa Elephant park said that for the first time in 44 years the elephants have not had to wear their seats. And the 78 elephants on site roam freely for the first time.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic Thailand has currently suspended all international flights. Many industries in Thailand rely heavily on tourism. Elephant parks and sanctuaries in particular rely on footfall from tourists.
Until the ban is lifted and tourists can begin visiting Thailand again, elephant parks like Maesa will have to fund themselves.
”It costs around five million baht per month to pay employees and care for the elephants”, says Kalampichit the owner of the park.
Kalampichit also said: ”We will not leave anyone behind, We will try to take the best care of the elephants for as long as we can. Now we are planting vegetables for the staff to eat as one of the ways we can reduce the expenses.”
It was the coronavirus pandemic that precipitated this parks decision to transition to a more ethical business model. However, this park was already leaning towards that decision. Over recent year many more ethical elephant parks have been established throughout Thailand. Including many elephant retirement parks where they rescue elephants from miserable lives such as the circus and let them roam free. Tourists then pay to make them food, feed them and clean them.
These Elephant parks giving rides to tourists only exist because of the tourism. But it can be argued that these parks are now transitioned to more ethical practices also because of tourism. This Is a sign of the times and the shift in culture. It’s becoming more and more evident to me that this boom in veganism is not just isolated to the west.
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