In a move that will delight animal-lovers, Vietnam has decided to ditch elephant rides in favor of the country’s first ethical elephant experience at one of its national parks.
The Yok Don National Park in Đắk Lắk of Vietnam is now running ethical elephant tours where tourists can come and observe the park’s four elephants from a distance as they roam freely around the forest. Animals Asia, who work for long-term change in the treatment of animals in China and Vietnam, praised the move saying “exploitation has been replaced with respect.”
According to a report by ANNEMARIE MCCARTHY on Lonely Planet. The move is a huge step for the park. Until very recently, elephants were kept in chains and being used to bring tourists on rides that could last the entire day. This also prevented them from engaging in their natural behavior, such as foraging, touching each other or drinking water when they needed to.
In order to facilitate the transition, UK charity Olsen Animal Trust has provided funding to ensure that elephant owners will not lose out on their current livelihoods, with the hope that this more ethical approach will have long-term dividends for locals, the environment and the animals.