The Asian elephant is symbol of patience, wisdom and strength. Elephants have been playing an important role in various religious traditions and mythologies.  In some regions beloved as deities. An elephant is a wonderful living creature who lives in peace with itself, his family and the nature. They are the largest terrestrial mammals. They can reach 6.4m in length and 3m at the shoulder, and weigh as much as 5 tonnes. Wow!!

Today, Asian elephants are part of the species in danger. According to WWF, “more than 100,000 may have existed at the start of the 20th century.  Numbers have fallen by at least 50% over the last three generations, and they are still in decline today”.

All these traditions and beauty had made an elephant ride a popular tourist attraction. Today, being part of the “you must do before you die” list. Yes, It sounds quite exciting, to have a picture with a 6.4 m and 5 tonnes living wonder. Just for the pleasure of ticking an item in the list or posting a picture.  But we never ask ourselves what is behind this? How a symbol of strength and wisdom can let people to ride on the top on them?

I didn’t have any idea of what was happening behind the scenes, before I read this NBC news article. In one picture, this article describes all the elephant pain and suffering before becoming a tourist attraction. Just for the pleasure of posting a picture in our social network profile and getting some likes!

For sure, this is not part of an elephant dreams “becoming a social network start or having 100 likes”. This is a very popular activity, because visitors want to ride elephants, or just watch them doing some tricks.

But the reality is that wild elephants are no born to be “a tourist attraction”. They need to be tamed.  This process is brutal and accomplished when elephants are little babies.

To be more specific, wild elephants don’t let people to ride on top of them. To achieve this a baby elephant is torture to completely break its spirit. This involves ripping the baby elephant away from their mother, putting him in a very small space where he is unable to move and them being beaten into submission.  At the same time that starved for several days until they break their spirit.

Let’s also remind that Elephants never forget, so the effects of this treatment are for life. On the top of this, we should also know that their spines are not made to support the weight of humans. Hard to believe right?

There are too many other ways to enjoy the wonder of these animals in their natural environment, like watching them living in peace with their little babies or just being a wild animal. Here some inspiring examples, Elephant Nature Park and Elephant Conservation Network . They are doing an amazing job, setting a new vision of a responsible business.

Now we know, that the choice is up to us and even if we will never have the opportunity to come to one of these places. Go spread the message, share this post and add this item on the top of our EMK list (Everyone Must Know)!

Let’s end this post with this beautiful quote from Robert McCammon, Boy’s Life:

They say that somewhere in Africa the elephants have a secret grave where they go to lie down, unburden their wrinkled gray bodies, and soar away, light spirits at the end.”