Zoo defends swimming elephant show

KHAO Kheow Open Zoo in the eastern Thai province of Chon Buri has issued a statement after a campaign was launched by animal rights campaigner Care2 to demand the end of “cruel underwater elephant shows” in Thailand, the Thai-language daily Thai Rath reported today (Oct 10, 2018).

According to Care2, Thai trainers pulled on the ears of elephants during shows at the zoo. In a video posted on Facebook of one of the Thai trainers, one elephant is made to dance around a tank while bobbing her head above and below the surface.

Then she plunges to the bottom and does a few tricks before coming back up for air while mounted by a trainer tugging on her ears.

A Thai Rath reporter interviewed a group of Thai tourists, all of whom said they did not think the performance was an act of cruelty against the elephant.

“I think it is just an exercise by the elephant,” Thai tourist Thanet Tanakulsatien told Thai Rath. “I have been here four times and I think all the animals are well trained and in good health.”


The elephant performing tricks underwater at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, above, and the wide-eyed audience, below. Photos: Thai Rath

By Songpol Kaopatumtip

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