Dear Honorable President,
Elephant Watch Nepal (EWN) was surprised to read that you promote elephant polo as a means to generate tourism income.
Elephant polo and other ‘games’ involving elephants is an outdated practice in most parts of the world. Science has shown that elephants are not built to play games. Also, in order to force elephants to carry out such a sport, they are trained in a cruel manner and disciplined with the help of an ankush, a tool that has been outlawed in many countries.
Across the world it has been recognised that elephants are highly intelligent, social animals, whose welfare is severely compromised when kept on chains or being made to perform. This is why domesticating elephants is discouraged and humane alternatives for the existing captive ones are found.
Recently, GoN has led the way by building chain free corrals for government-owned elephants. Tiger Tops recently became the first tourism outfit to unchain its elephants and to stop elephant polo and safaris. Instead they promote walking with elephants, elephant behaviour observation, etc.
“We too are concerned about tourism revenues but since many Western travel companies have removed elephant safaris and games from their itineraries traditional elephant activities will not yield much income in the long run. Humane alternatives like walking with elephants, elephant watching, kuchi making, etc. have much more potential as sustainable business models.”
We hope you will stop promoting elephant tourism and instead speak out for more humane alternatives to sustainable tourism.
The EWN Team