A new report calls this trend worrying and suggests that elephants will be exploited further to try to recover income after Covid-19.

Kim Kardashiam and her daughter visiting an elephant.

The number of captive elephants in Asia it has increased by 70% in the last decade and one of the main reasons is the demand of tourists to “take pictures or bathe” with them, explains the World Animal Protection.

This is shown in the third edition of the report Elephants are not merchandise prepared by this international non-profit organization and which was published this Wednesday on the occasion of World Elephant Day.

From World Animal Protection they have qualified this trend of “alarming”, and they have warned of the probability that this situation will worsen “when the operators of these places try to recover the income lost due to the impact caused by Covid-19.”

Throughout the Asian continent there are more than 3,800 elephants in captivity, of which three quarters are in Thailand.

This figure means a worsening of this phenomenon, since it supposes an increase of 70% in the number of these elephants in ten years, according to the report.

Furthermore, the findings reveal that 63% of these elephants “are suffering and living in deplorable conditions in 208 places in the countries analyzed ”, while only 7% live“ in places with high standards of well-being ”.

Elephants in captivity represent “a large percentage of the business for tour operators“Since before the coronavirus pandemic they generated between 581 and 770 million dollars a year.

“Tourists have unconsciously promoted these cruel practices by doing small interactions with these animals such as bathing them and taking photos with them“Since they make their demand grow, the organization has pointed out.

Even though the population is more aware of “the suffering caused by circus-style shows and elephant rides ”, these places that offer spaces to bathe elephants“ have become very popular in the last five years ”and their number has even“ tripled ”in Thailand.

“Also those opportunities offered by some so-called sanctuaries, orphanages and rescue centers” to carry out these activities actually hide the exploitation and abuse of these animals, has lamented the global director of Wildlife of World Animal Protection, Audrey Mealia, who has insisted that “they are not innocent places, they are cruel.”

For this reason, the organization has ensured that “a sustainable and long-term solution” is the prohibition of captive breeding of “elephants used for commercial tourism”, as this would prevent “future generations of these animals from suffering this trauma.”

At the same time, they have remarked that tourists also have a certain power since “they can stay away from unethical practices”And choose places where the elephants are“ in their natural habitat or support camps with high standards of welfare ”that operate on a model of observation and create jobs and income for locals who want to join as caretakers.