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Elephants deserve to chill in the wild—and now they can, at ChangChill

Dear ,

In 2017, we committed to helping a Thai elephant venue, called Happy Elephant Valley at the time, to transition to a completely elephant-friendly camp. We demonstrated a growing demand for observation only elephant-friendly tourism and told them we were ready to support venues that put the needs of elephants at their heart. With help from some leading travel companies, and the incredible dedication of the venue, we are extremely proud to share that ChangChill is now open!

We know that elephant riding is the world's cruellest type of wildlife attraction. Elephants are taken from their mothers when babies and forced through a horrific training process known as ‘the crush’ in order to make them submit to elephant rides and other human interactions. This terrible process involves physical restraints, inflicting severe pain and withholding food and water. By the end of it all, the elephant’s spirit has been broken down, and they are reminded constantly of human dominance by their trainers and the bullhooks used.

ChangChill is different. ChangChill, meaning “relaxed elephants” in Thai, represents the future of wildlife tourism.

Because of this incredible transition, the six resident female elephants now have the freedom to roam the valley, graze, and bathe in the river, mud and dust, while socializing with each other. They will no longer be forced to spend their days giving rides to, or being bathed by, expectant tourists. They will not be isolated or chained up, but able to move freely and at their own pace.

Thousands of elephants still live in unacceptable, captive conditions in Thailand and elsewhere. They endure harsh training regimes to become submissive enough to carry tourists on their back and perform tricks. But the story of ChangChill proves that there is a better way to experience wildlife tourism: a way that is not cruel, prevents animal suffering, and helps keep wild animals in the wild where they belong. We hope that this is just the first of many elephant camps in Thailand, and beyond, to move from elephant riding to an observation-only elephant venue.

Click here for our brand new guide and checklist to help you be an elephant-friendly tourist!

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World Animal Protection is the operating name of World Society for the Protection of Animals - Canada. Charitable registration no: 129719076RR0001.

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