10 places you need to go to ethically interact with elephants

LOIS ALTER MARK | March 18, 2019

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Interacting with elephants is a signature experience of visiting Asia. What most tourists don't realize, though, is that every single elephant who gives rides, paints pictures or performs in a show has been physically and emotionally abused in ways you can never unsee once you've been shown.To get a sense of what that entails – grab tissues because you're going to learn about the crush box – watch Love and Bananas, a powerful documentary that should be required viewing. It follows the rescue of a 70-year-old, partially blind trekking elephant by Sangdeaun Lek Chailert, who was named Time magazine's Hero of Asia, and who founded Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.Lek has been a champion for these magnificent creatures for decades, and her Save Elephants Foundation has developed the 'Saddle Off!' initiative as part of its Asian Elephants Projects. Its goal is to transform trekking camps into ethical elephant tourism experiences where the elephants' welfare comes first

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