Baby elephant collapses from exhaustion while serving as part of tourist attraction
Disturbing footage from eastern Thailand shows an exhausted baby elephant collapsing while tied to its mother at a tourist attraction.
The viral clip, recorded by an unnamed tourist at the Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens in Pattaya, shows a small elephant, believed to be about one year old, fall to the ground while walking with its mother, who is carrying two adult tourists on her back.
"Oh no, he's tired!" one onlooker can be heard exclaiming, as the juvenile creature rolls on the ground and struggles to get up. The baby, encouraged by its mother, is eventually able to stand. The pair then rushes off in the elephant procession.
The woman who recorded the clip, a Filipino teacher currently working in Myanmar, was visiting Thailand with friends when the incident took place.
"There are many more baby elephants tied with their mother walking around with tourists at their backs enjoying under the heat of the sun while these elephants are suffering," she lamented to the Daily Mail.
A spokesman for Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens denied allegations of animal abuse, saying, "All of the elephants are healthy and treated very well. If there is a problem they are treated by vets. All of the babies here are healthy."
A recent surge in "elephant tourism" has fueled global cruelty towards the majestic creatures.
A 2017 study carried out by World Animal Protection assessed almost 3,000 elephants living in captivity across Southeast Asia and found that more than three quarters were living in "severely cruel" conditions, the BBC reports.
Many were routinely bound with chains less than 10-feet long and were forced to stand on concrete floors near loud roads and music while being ridden, used as a backdrop for selfies and forced to entertain tourists.
As a result, multiple travel companies, like TripAdvisor, have stopped ticket sales to venues offering elephant rides and shows.