An elephant in chains and pain is terrible sight to behold

This from a recent visitor to Chitwan…

Thea & Tails

Last weekend I visited Chitwan National Park in Nepal for the second time. When I was there a few years ago I had a brilliant time and one of the highlights was going on safari riding on an elephant. I had been looking forward to doing the same again, but once there I quickly changed my mind.

I’m kind of ashamed to admit that when I was there before I didn’t really think about the impact on the elephant.  I didn’t think about it this time either, that is until I had several elephants standing in front of me who were obviously in distress and had their front legs tightly hobbled together.


These were two massive male elephants and our guide explained that they were in musth and therefore for dangerous.  I could hardly look at them and didn’t want to take photos as it was so distressing to see these…

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Ever wanted to ride an elephant? You have to watch this!

From our friends at World Animal Protection

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Still want to ride an elephant? Here is another reason not to…

This from our friends at PETA India…

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Four German travel providers stop elephant rides in Nepal

Cartoon elephantFour German travel providers have decided to remove elephant rides and other tourist attractions offering direct contact with captive elephants from their programmes.

Following discussions with Pro Wildlife, AIDA Cruises, TUI Germany, Hauser Exkursionen and Geograf Exkursionen announced they will introduce elephant-friendly tourism, and no longer offer elephant-back safaris and other cruel attractions involving elephants.

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‘An Elephant Is Not A Machine’ shows Nepal’s safari elephants got a bad deal

An Elephant Is Not A Machine-coverEWN offers kudos to Animal Nepal for publishing An Elephant Is Not A Machine, a report on the welfare conditions of safari elephants in Sauraha, Chitwan. The survey of 42 privately owned ‘safari elephant’ in Sauraha learns that their welfare is ‘greatly compromised’.

According to the report, only 18% of elephants live under ‘Improving Conditions’ while 82% of elephants have to cope with ‘Unsuitable Conditions’. Not a single elephant qualifies for ‘Excellent Conditions’. Welfare conditions fall short in many areas including freedom of movement, shelter conditions, nutrition, health and healthcare, safari management, as well as mahout welfare. Continue reading

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EWN launches tourism campaign


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Kathmandu, July 16, 2014 – ‘Planning an Elephant Jungle Safari? A Few Things You Know…’  With the support of a colourful brochure and poster, Elephant Watch Nepal launches a tourism awareness programme focusing on elephant safaris. The brochures are translated in English, Spanish, French and German.

A jungle safari on top of a majestic elephant seems an exotic adventure.  Behind the rides however, there are painful conditions that tourists are often unaware of. “With the help of the materials we alert tourists to the realities of elephant safaris and enable them to make informed choices,” says EWN representative Diana Argueta.

The brochure outlines some of the problems safari elephants face. “Despite their great social skills, outstanding intelligence and environmental and religious relevance, captive elephants in South Nepal lack access to nutritious food, consideration of their social nature, chain free enclosures and humane management,” the brochure reads.

The materials will be available online as well as at tourist hot spots.

Download the brochures in English, Spanish, French and German here.  The full text can be read here.

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EWN welcomes chain free initiative for private elephants

Srijana Kali

Srijana Kali with baby Samrat Gaj on chains in her shed

Kathmandu, July 10, 2014 – Elephant Watch Nepal welcomes a new initiative to unchain working elephants in and around Chitwan National Park. After unchaining 31 government elephants, Carol Buckley from Elephant Aid International designed a corral for elephants owned by Sapana Village Resort.

When mahout Mukti Chaudary unchained Srijana Kali on June 13, 2014, the tall mother elephant became the first private elephant in Nepal to be set free.  She was followed closely by her son Samrat Gaj when she left the small shed in which she was housed and explored the new enclosure. Mum and son were delighted to be walking around freely, to eat the greens and to sleep together on the grass, in between two tall trees.

The unchaining of working elephants is an important step in improving the conditions of these majestic animals.

Srijana kali off chains

Srijana Kali and her son explore the new enclosure (photo Carol Buckley)

Kudos to Sapana Village Resort, Carol Buckley, Himalayan Animal Trust and Animal Nepal for creating the first chain free for a private safari elephant!




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