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Friday, August 10, 2018

Elephant torture: ‘We didn’t know’ claims Intrepid co-founder


Intrepid co-founder admits ‘we didn’t know’, trade asked to take elephant pledge

Unsuspecting tourists riding trained elephants at Ban Ta Klang Elephant Village, Thailand. (R Eime)

Intrepid Group co-founder Geoff Manchester has admitted to not knowing the dark side of elephant riding, and said that there is no excuse any longer, in a mini-documentary released for World Elephant Day.

Travel agents have been asked to pledge their support to end elephant riding and with each pledge the Intrepid Group to donate $1 to The Intrepid Foundation to support the cause, with one agent to win an Intrepid trip to Thailand to visit rehabilitated elephants.

In the documentary released today, the adventure travel company has shown graphic footage of the torture of young elephants for rides, in a plea to travellers to stop the tourist attractions for good.

“I was the first ever Intrepid leader, so I guess I was the first Intrepid leader to take travellers on elephant rides,” Manchester said.

Intrepid Group was the first travel company to ban elephant rides in 2014 following research collaboration with World Animal Protection and many in the travel industry followed suit. The confronting documentary highlights the practice of beating and starvation to make the elephants submissive for human rides.

“When we rescue elephants some of them have worked for humans for six or seven decades… More than 80% arrive with a huge mental problem. Some of them stand still like a zombie, some of them are very aggressive and angry,” Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai founder Lek Chailert said.

“I don’t blame people because they don’t know,” Chailert added.

This is the message Intrepid is urging on World Elephant Day – you didn’t know. We didn’t know. But know that we do, we need to spread the message, with research showing that not all Australians know that elephant riding involves cruelty.

The latest research from World Animal Protection commissioned this year shows that 28% of Australians have taken an elephant ride. 40% of women think elephant rides are unacceptable, while 27% of men think the same.

Consumer sentiment and awareness is not at the level it should be, Manchester said, and on World Elephant Day Intrepid pleads with travellers to cease elephant riding for good.

“It’s just the start of something that will hopefully eventuate in elephant riding ceasing all together and that might be in 10 years or it might be in 20 years but eventually it will happen,” Manchester added.

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