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Jaipur: Protests against elephant rides as an attraction

The elephants trot up the hill in long lines. They are brightly painted and have long blankets over their backs. Frames reminiscent of a bed are attached to it. Day in, day out, elephants in Jaipur drag tourists up to Amber Fort.

It is a tough climb, several kilometers steep cobblestone pavement. And that with about 300 kilograms on his back, right behind his head sits the mahout - the elephant trainer. In the evening the animals are put in chains. The consequence of this tourist attraction in Jaipur: Several elephants are injured or sick.

Elephants at the Amber Fort in Jaipur - animal rights activists protest

For animal rights activists, elephant riding is an absolute no-go - on Sunday the organization World Animal Protection protested against it on the occasion of World Elephant Day today on August 12 in the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan.

Their goal: elephant riding should be banned, instead the use of bicycles should be encouraged. On this occasion, the demonstrators were also on wheels.

“It's not just about the gruesome methods they are trained in to make them docile, but also that many are in dire need of medical attention. The complaints are tuberculosis, blood problems, blindness, malnutrition and foot injuries when walking on hard surfaces, ”says animal rights activist Kirsty Warren from WAP.

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And further: “We have asked the authorities to create a sanctuary for the elephants near the fortress, where tourists can observe them in a natural habitat. That could become a separate tourist attraction, ”said Kirsty Warren.

Elephant rides: Still a popular tourist attraction

The organization WAP has been fighting for a ban on elephant riding in the Indian city for several years - without success. So far it has only achieved that the number of tourists allowed on the back of the animals has been reduced from four to two and the maximum number of rides to five in winter and three in summer.

The elephant owners, on the other hand, say they need the rides to make a living.

Not only in India, but in many Asian countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Laos, elephant riding is still a popular tourist attraction. But something is happening in some places - for example, it is to be banned from 2020 at the famous Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia.