I have spoken briefly before about the whole elephant tourism thing in Thailand, but I could never really find the words to describe how I felt about it. Instead, I posted a black and white photo essay to try and portray the elephant camp experience. Is it right that elephants are being used for rides and shows for tourists? If elephant tourism didn’t exist, would the elephants therefore have no use and instead be critically endangered? I honestly have mixed feelings about the whole thing. The only thing I’m sure of is that I really didn’t enjoy my experience at the elephant camp that I visited near Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Elephants are beautiful creatures and they simply fascinate me. It felt demeaning to be riding on their backs and watching them perform tricks for me.
I took this photo near the end of the elephant show that I watched, as this very talented elephant named Suda finished painting her picture. I’m not sure how they trained her to do this, and I’m not sure I want to, but this does show how intelligent elephants are. Suda has to do this a couple of times a day and her paintings are up for sale after the show.