An animal sanctuary that has come under fire after their harsh treatment of elephants has been exposed was forced to free the giant mammals from the chains following public outrage.
For the first time ever, over a dozen elephants at Thailand’s Maesa Elephant Camp are able to walk around free of shackles and beatings.
The sanctuary located in Chiang Mai first gained worldwide attention after dozens of footages and pictures taken by activists circulated the internet and revealed the terrible conditions the elephants were exposed to.
According to the reports, the calves were “ripped from their mothers” soon after their birth, whereas the staff forced them to paint and perform various tricks for the entertainment of visitors.
In addition, the elephants were chained nonstop and only got to move around when their caretakers took them out for performance.
Now, the sanctuary has announced they’ve ‘freed’ a portion of the animals, whereas they allegedly intend to unchain all of their 77 elephants.
“The center has been criticized for a long time about how we chain the animals in here, so we decided to free them,” Executive officer Anchalee Kalamaphichit claimed.
“However, living freely is a new thing to these elephants. They need time to adapt into their new way of living so we chose to start with the eldest and friendliest of the elephants.
“We are glad that they appeared to be happier living without chains and their mahouts, so hopefully we can free the rest of them soon.”
The announcement was well-accepted by the public and Moving Animals, a charity that works to document mistreated animals and expose their plight to the world.
“It’s incredible to see these elephants living freely without their chains.
With over 70 captive elephants, Maesa Elephant Camp is the biggest camp in Northern Thailand.Their compassionate decision sends a powerful message to the elephant tourism industry and sets a clear precedent for change,” Founder Amy Jones expressed.
“With ABTA – the UK’s largest travel association – updating their guidelines to condemn unethical elephant interactions, we are hopeful that more and more tourist attractions will make positive changes, so that no animals have to suffer for tourist’s entertainment.”
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