Yor Don park has teamed up with animal welfare activists and launched ethical tours
The times of popular elephant rides have become history at the Yor Don national park. The largest nature reserve in the southern part of Vietnam has decided to answer the calls coming from animal welfare activists and banned the attraction for good.
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Instead, the park has teamed up with the Animals Asia organisation and has launched a new concept of ethical elephant tours. These trips will give visitors to the Yor Don park the unique opportunity to observe the animals in natural habitat.
The activists had pointed out that the elephants lived in inhuman conditions. As well as other parts of Vietnam, the animals were chained for the most part of the day and often lacked proper water supply. Some days they were forced to carry tourists in heavy baskets for nine straight hours.
“This project has entirely changed the lives of the elephants at the park and it also provides a much better experience for the tourists,” said Dionne Slagter, Animals Asia’s animal welfare manager.
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“Exploitation has been replaced with respect, and if successful it’s a model we could see spread across the country. They all look so much healthier and are increasingly confident in how far they roam.”
Vietnam is not the only place where measures against animal exploitation have been implemented. Similar rules now apply in two Indian national parks — Jim Corbett National Park and Rajaji Tiger Reserve — where tourists cannot attend elephant rides anymore.
A number of judges will soon decide whether to ban the rides in Goa and Rajasthan as well since the elephant utilisation can be classified as torture.
The Greek island of Santorini has recently band overweight tourists from riding donkeys that are iconic for the location.