When they are just 2 years old, baby elephants are torn away from their loving mothers and tied up out of reach. The frantic babies cry and struggle for days to reach their mothers, who are also tethered. Elephant calves are restrained during training for as long as 14 hours at a time with ropes that cause painful burns and with heavy chains.
Over and over again, calves are put through terrifying "desensitisation" sessions, in which trainers tie the elephants tightly to a pole, surround them, startle them with loud noises, hit them, prod them with sticks and wave flaming torches at them – often singeing the elephants' skin.
Trainers routinely pierce the animals' sensitive ears and yank on them with hooks in order to force elephants to walk a certain way. To control the elephants, restraints studded with iron nails, which dig into elephants' skin and cause infections, are used on their feet. Barbed shackles are also frequently placed around the elephants' legs during rides, with the other end of the shackles attached to the saddle so that riders can punish the elephants for any misstep. Trainers routinely beat elephants on the head with sticks to punish them for "mistakes," leaving many elephants with open wounds.
Please watch this undercover video footage of elephant training camps. This is just one example of the cruel ways in which elephants are trained to give rides, but all elephant training methods are cruel. In India, chaining, beating and the use of an iron hook (ankus) to jab and hit elephants is common. In Thailand, still-nursing baby elephants are dragged kicking and screaming from their mothers. They are immobilised, beaten mercilessly and gouged with nails for days at a time. These ritualised training sessions leave the elephants traumatised, badly injured or even dead.
Please help elephants in Nepal by urging the President of Nepal to ban these joyrides. Also, take a pledge never to take joyrides.