Around the world, thousands of elephants are cruelly trained and abused for the entertainment of tourists.

Between 2014 and 2016, we investigated 220 elephant tourist attractions across Asia.

We uncovered horrifying evidence, exposing the way thousands of elephants are treated to entertain tourists:  

  • Big industry: there are more than 3,000 captive elephants in tourism in Asia. Our Taken for a ride report studied 2,923 of them.
  • Entertainment over welfare: 96% of venues offering rides keep their elephants in cruel and unacceptable living conditions.
  • Hub for cruelty: There’s been a 30% increase in the number of captive elephants in Thailand over the past five years.

Many tourists ride elephants or visit elephant attractions because they love these beautiful animals. The awful truth behind the treatment of elephants used for rides is hidden from sight.

All wild or captive-bred elephants are isolated, chained and abused until their spirits are broken in a barbaric training method called the "crush". And the cruelty doesn’t stop there. Elephants are controlled with fear and pain so that they'll perform and take people on their backs.

You can help convince travel companies and tour operators to stop promoting attractions that profit from elephant cruelty by taking our elephant friendly pledge today.

Together we can end the demand for elephant attractions. And when the demand ends, so will the cruelty.

Woman posing on an elephant while having her photo taken

With your support we are showing the industry there is a different way.

By raising awareness about the hidden cruelty behind elephant rides and shows, we are helping people make informed choices and putting pressure on the travel industry to change for the better.

A life entertaining tourists is no life for a wild animal

Across the world animals are being taken from the wild and bred in captivity to be used in the tourist entertainment industry. They will suffer at every stage of this inherently cruel business.

The demand for wildlife holiday experiences is driving the cruel animal entertainment industry. We have the power to reduce that demand and change the industry now. 

Pledge to stand with World Animal Protection in asking the travel industry to end the exploitation of wildlife and promise to not visit attractions that use wild animals for entertainment.

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The good news is that globally the elephant friendly movement is growing with more than 200 global travel companies committing to stop selling tickets to elephant rides and shows.

And public opinion is changing. Of the travellers we surveyed, around 60% said they would avoid a tour operator whose activities cause suffering for wild animals.

As demand shifts away from elephant rides and shows, a growing number of elephant venues are moving to high welfare conditions. Our investigators found 13 venues across Asia providing the best possible care for elephants – without offering rides or shows.

Together with some of the world’s most influential travel companies, we are also working to transition some venues in Asia to becoming elephant-friendly attractions. This will show that high welfare venues can be commercially viable for elephant camp owners, encouraging them to value and care for their animals.

A high welfare venue allows observational activities only with no direct interaction between humans and elephants. These venues also allow elephants to socialise in natural herds.

Together we can move more companies to stop selling cruel elephant rides and shows to tourists. Because wild animals belong in the wild, not captive for our entertainment. 

Three female elephants at BLES sanctuary in Thailand