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Our Elephant Welfare Policy

Here at Rickshaw, we believe that travelling and caring for our planet go pretty much hand-in-hand. We know just how important animal welfare is in the tourism industry, that’s why we’re committed to doing our bit for animals by making sure we offer responsible experiences that strive to meet recommended industry guidelines.

Why we offer ethical elephant experiences

As part of the ongoing development of our animal welfare policy, we’ve partnered up with international non-profit animal welfare organisation, World Animal Protection to make a commitment to end elephant riding. As the first step on our journey, we are now proud to say that we no longer promote or offer elephant riding and entertainment in any of our trips. Instead we offer a handful of ethical elephant experiences which have animal welfare at their forefront.

By opting for more ethical experiences in our trips, we hope to help reduce the tourist demand for elephant riding; a practice which often involves the exploitation of wild animals that are trained and – in many cases – mistreated as a means of domestication for entertainment purposes.

In addition to partnering with World Animal Protection, we have also adopted the guidelines developed by Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) to ensure that our elephant experiences meet the necessary ethical requirements.

Elephants in tourism: What you need to know

  • Most of the captive elephants in the tourism industry have been captured illegally from the wild (around 75%)
  • To ‘train’ an elephant, babies are taken from their mothers and their spirit is broken through both physical and psychological pain, including isolation, starvation and beating
  • In captivity, elephants are usually restrained in small enclosures by chains, provided a diet that doesn’t meet their needs, denied social interaction with their own kind and made to perform unnatural behaviours

We really believe that tourism can be used as a positive force to promote ethical elephant experiences, but it’s important for travellers and companies alike to exhibit the best practices possible to ensure the happiness and well-being of elephants, local communities and travellers. We know that we have a big journey ahead and a lot of work left to do, but we promise to strive to make the world a better place for elephants.

For more information on elephants in tourism, take a look at World Animal Protection or read more about our ethical elephant journey on our blog.