Elephant rides and all other activities that involve direct contact with elephants contribute to an industry that subjects the animals to ruthless training sessions in which they’re barbarically beaten and that keeps them chained in place when not being used as tourist attractions. In addition, such activities are dangerous for humans and can even be fatal: captive elephants not only have been known to lash out in frustration but also can carry tuberculosis (TB), which can be transmitted to humans.
Forcing abused, frustrated wild animals like elephants to be in close contact with humans is a recipe for disaster. Here are just 10 of many incidents that provide irrefutable evidence that elephant rides at Amer Fort need to be banned:
- In 1999, an elephant used for rides trampled a mahout to death when the man tried to prevent the animal from entering a lake near Amer Fort.
- Four years later, a young tourist guide upset an elephant he was riding by attempting to handle the animal from atop, causing the elephant to pull the youth down with his or her trunk and crush him to death.
- Rajasthan’s Tourism Department banned elephant rides in 2005 after a tourist guide was trampled to death by the elephant he spooked with a camera flash.
- In 2009, a 25-year-old elephant carrying tourists strayed from her normal route and ran off into the hills. Mahouts and forest department officials recaptured her the next day, but when they brought the animal back, she was mysteriously dead. Some blamed an overdose of tranquilisers.
- That same year, an elephant became so distressed that the tourists and mahout she was carrying jumped off. Two mahouts who tried controlling her sustained severe head injuries, and the elephant damaged a building as she tried to escape but was captured, tranquilised, and chained up again.
- A 45-year-old female elephant who was still being forced to ferry tourists uphill, despite being treated for paralysis, collapsed and died in 2010.
- Two South Korean tourists were seriously injured after leaping off the elephant they were riding because another elephant started fighting with him or her. The female tourist sustained a head injury from the fall and her husband’s leg was fractured when he was caught under the huge animal.
- In 2014, an elephant who was chained in the searing sun became upset and used his trunk to grab and throw a mahout off his back and onto the ground. The overheated animal then ran into a wall and fell onto the mahout, killing him. Male elephants were banned from tourist rides after several similar incidents.
- A female elephant who reached for a banana and attacked another elephant out of hunger was savagely beaten for 10 minutes by several mahouts for her acts of desperation, which American tourists caught on camera back in 2017.
- Two years later, panic and chaos ensued when the same female elephant whose attack was filmed started fighting with another elephant while each still had tourists strapped to their backs.
According to the inspections carried out by two central government bodies, Project Elephant Division and the Animal Welfare Board of India, there is a high prevalence of TB – which is very contagious and transmissible from elephants to humans – among elephants forced to give rides at Amber Fort in Jaipur. Even after testing reactive for TB, these animals are still used for joy rides, putting tourists at risk. Healthy elephants are also at risk of contracting TB from humans, creating more hosts for the bacteria.
Keeping wild animals like elephants in captivity and torturing them for offering entertainment is dangerous because such practices compromise both animals’ and humans’ health and safety. In order to protect elephants and the people, please help PETA India ban cruel elephant rides at Amer Fort!