Amer Fort,a popular tourist attraction in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan is known for its breathtaking palaces, forts, ambience and scenic beauty. The fort is set high atop a hill overlooking the city and stands as a proud reminder of the building skills of yesteryears. One can either walk up the hill or take elephant rides to the fort, the latter being the most popular.
Elephant rides in the fort have been an issue of concern for quite some time as the elephants are mistreated and robbed of their most basic needs, including social companionship and adequate space to exercise. Since decades, the pachyderms have been kept in Jaipur chiefly to ferry tourists up and down the mountain and spend most of their time standing on hot asphalt awaiting fares, with very little access to water. Many of them are dehydrated with cracked feet and overgrown toenails and kept confined in chains and shackles for long periods in the heat. They have nowhere to bathe nor is any sort of veterinary care made available to them.
In the past few years, several mishaps have happened as when two South Korean tourists fell off the elephant when the elephant they were on was attacked by another. Another case was of a youth trampled to death when an elephant ran berserk, the infuriated elephant crushed him under its feet. A mahout was also killed by one elephant after he did not allow it to take a bath in the lake. Such fierce behaviour is a result of cruel methods used by animal trainers to force the elephants to perform when tired and suffering from heat or obey commands by inflicting pain and fear beating with an ankush.
Forcibly separated from their natural homes and families, captive elephants suffer from chronic ailments, both physical and emotional, which results in their premature death. They belong in the wild and not to serve as joyrides for tourists. Such was the fate of Asha, an elephant now residing at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center, who was one of the Jaipur elephants used in Amer Fort for ferrying tourists to and fro at the fort. A possible solution to end such cruelty and misery of elephants would be for people to stop demanding elephant rides.
Wildlife SOS and the State Forest Department are working towards rescuing these elephants from their plight and providing them a bright future for the rest of their lives. You can help make a difference by pledging never to ride elephants again and can also sponsor our lovely pachyderm Asha and help us in providing the very best to her by clicking HERE.