The very well known TIGER TOPS has made quite a historic move by announcing to unchain its sixteen elephants, discard jungle safaris and offer non-invasive tourism activities which still give tourists the opportunity to be close with elephants and the wildlife. The announcement which came towards the end of January, 2016 was encouraged by Animal Nepal. Tiger Tops Elephant Camp is currently working with Elephant Aid International to construct corrals for the elephants and introduce new ways for tourists to experience the wildlife. This is a much needed development for the welfare of domesticated elephants in Nepal. Hopefully this will inspire many other resorts to do the same.
Here’s an excerpt from Animal Nepal:
During a press conference on January 22, Tiger Tops chair Kristjan Edwards expressed his excitement about the change of direction. “Tiger Tops introduced elephant safaris to the world. Half a decade later we now are ready to introduce a responsible way of using elephants in tourism,” he said. Edwards, whose change of heart was inspired by observing the cruel ‘breaking’ of young elephants, expressed an interest in helping Nepal’s safari industry becoming a more responsible one, as well as setting an example for other countries.
Carol Buckley, who helped the Nepal government unchain its elephants in Chitwan National Park, said the new approach ‘will introduce guests to a philosophy of respect to elephants’. “Activities like riding, petting, feeding and taking selfies, contributing to using elephants as props, are no longer part of the deal,” she said. Instead visitors will be invited to observe the natural rhythm of elephants, when waking, grazing, bathing, playing, feeding and sleeping. They will get a chance to help mahouts cutting grass and making ‘kuchi’, an elephant snack. Instead of riding elephants in the jungle, visitors are invited to walk behind them while observing wildlife.