Elephant Rides and Orphanage Visits
For many years we had supported local businesses in Thailand, India and Sri Lanka that relied on elephants held in captivity to generate income. Although we had always engaged with locally accredited operators bound to particular standards of animal welfare, after feedback from our travellers we decided to remove elephant rides and visits to elephant orphanages from all of our tours effective 1st October 2016. We were a significant supplier of business to these areas and strongly believed that in order to minimize any unnecessary suffering that these elephants may experience due to a lack of income for the businesses that own them, a gradual and sustainable withdrawal was required.
As larger tour operators pulled out of these practices overnight, we saw many elephants go hungry as their owners no longer made enough money to feed them and did not have the time to invest in other sources of income. Over the course of several months we worked closely with the local communities we support to explore new income revenues and ensure these animals were well-looked after. The elephant rides and camp visits originally included on our tours were replaced with free time and other activities.
In September 2020, we also partnered with the organisation Trunks & Leaves. We have taken a pledge to ensure we only engage in ethical elephant experiences. We were one of the first tour operators to end elephant rides and we no longer run group tours to the Kandy Festival. The only places you’ll see elephants on tour with us are in national parks, where the animals are free and safe from human persecution. The funding from our visits to these national parks also helps to protect them from future development, ensuring ethical tourism thrives in Sri Lanka.