Mason Elephant park is more like prison than paradise
Lady Freethinker exposes cruelty to elephants at a star-studded elephant attraction.
Urge Mason to stop elephant rides when they reopen!
Mason Elephant Park and Lodge in Bali, Indonesia is cruel to elephants, a Lady Freethinker (LFT) investigation reveals. After visiting the park in December 2019 and February 2020 — just before the coronavirus shutdown — LFT’s investigator documented abuses such as:
- Elephants chained to small, circular areas covered in their own urine and feces. Unable to move around freely, elephants struggled just to reach their drinking water.
- The frequent use of bullhooks, or rods with a pointed hook at one end, to control elephant behavior during washing and riding. Bullhook use resulted in scars and cuts on some elephants’ ears and scalps.
- Abusive washing tactics, which included pushing elephants’ heads underwater for long periods of time, pressurized water guns, and forcing at least one baby elephant onto her side as she frantically attempted to return to her mother.
- Frequent cases of zoochosis, or functionless behaviors such as pacing, swaying or rocking, which indicates psychological distress. This is likely the result of a lack of exercise and elephant-to-elephant interaction.
- Forced human interaction, as elephants were commanded by staff to return to areas overwhelmed with tourists when attempting to leave. Staff encouraged tourists to pose in a sexualized way for photos with the elephants.
Heartbreaking TripAdvisor reviews confirm the abuse of these majestic creatures:
“It was so disheartening seeing all the elephants chained up around the ‘sanctuary’ … Please treat these beautiful animals better!” (itshelenl, January 2020)
“Bullhooks are being used. Some elephants show distress and zoochosis. Not a place of welfare, just a business that exploits its animals to make money.” (John_smith_poca, January 2020)
“I saw a poor little elephant struggle as [she] got tangled up in [a chain] while nobody helped to get her out until eventually [she] untangled herself … I saw employees with brown wooden small bats on them … riding [elephants], [forcing them to go] in the water, etc. is just as bad as a circus.” (Alex K, August 2019)
Unfortunately, animal welfare policies in Bali are far too lenient. According to their website, Mason Elephant Park and Lodge actually became Asia’s first welfare certified elephant park, awarded the gold certification from the Asian Captive Elephants Standards.
Human lives are at risk too. Elephants can spread tuberculosis, salmonella, and even anthrax. As the recent coronavirus pandemic has shown us, cruel animal captivity can have disastrous effects on our health. A selfie isn’t worth animal suffering and spreading diseases.
As the world begins to reopen in the pandemic, it’s crucial that we create a more compassionate place for both people and animals. Sign the petition urging Mason Elephant Park and Lodge to shut down all elephant rides and human-elephant contact and serve as a safe space where people can watch elephants explore with the freedom they deserve.