Swimming with Baby Elephants in Phuket.. Ethical?


We LOVE Elephants, PERIOD. If humans had soul animals, ours would be elephant.If we were wizards, our patronus would be an elephant. You get it right?  We are deeply smitten and enchanted by this glorious creature. So when we heard about this activity of swimming and playing with baby elephants, we had mixed feelings. We were torn with the excitement to meet these not-so-little friends but on the other hand, we were not sure if we were in fact promoting any sort of animal cruelty in the process.

After much thought, we decided to at least give it a try. The activity costed us $74 in total, which includes pick up and drop, 20 minutes with the elephants as well as professional photographs. The activity happens at Tri Tang beach, a 25 minute drive from our hotel in Patong. We had booked a 9 AM slot and was picked up right on time. As soon as we reached a secluded part of the Tri-Tang beach, we could see about 4-5 baby elephants feasting on bananas and sugar cane in a makeshift shelter made out of palm tree leaves.

Swimming with baby elephants in phuket

As we stepped onto the beach, two baby elephants were led to sea and before you know it, a jet stream of water hit us square on our faces. The play had begun. We refused to climb atop them but played with them, bathed them, fed them bananas by the dozen. 20 minutes went by so quickly that we stuck around to just watch them.

Swimming with baby elephants in phuket

Now the question that kept popping in our mind’s were the whereabouts of their parents. They seemed to be looked after well.. but we were still fishing for information. We were told that these baby elephants were taken to their parents by evening. Though we really wanted to believe this, somewhere in our mind, we felt convinced there was more to it than what met the eye.

Swimming with baby elephants in phuket thailand

Keeping all that aside, I was devising a plan within 5 minutes into the activity of running away with them, saving them, reuniting them with their parents and visiting them every year thereafter with the happy reunions and the tearful farewells. With that Utopian imagination, I do belong in one of the DreamWorks movies. But a girl can dream, right?)

Swimming with baby elephants in phuket thailand

The most important question, Would we recommend this activity?

We wish we had clarity on their upkeep. Were they in fact rescued? Were they taken back to their parents every evening? Far from the eyes of the visitors, were they taken care as well? Most importantly, were they HAPPY?

Sadly we do not have answers to any of these questions.

We only wish, hope and pray that they are loved and taken care off as they deserve to be. We would urge all those who love animals to donate to legit animal welfare causes and do your bit for them. They have long given up their right of existence on this planet. Lets at least make their lives a liveable one.

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