Over recent months, Gate 1 Travel has undertaken an extensive review of our activities that include animal encounters, with particular focus on elephant riding and sanctuary visits.
We have done everything possible to ensure that the elephants and other animals that our travellers interact with are treated ethically, and we strive for experiences which are fulfilling for both the animals and tourists. However, the fact remains that for elephants, being ridden or performing tricks is not natural behaviour. It’s nearly impossible to guarantee that there has not been mistreatment during their training or that the animals were not illegally captured. On top of this is a disturbing increase in the number of attractions in Asia claiming to be sanctuaries, rescue centres or retirement camps, but sadly some of these facilities practice the same abusive training methods and deprivation that has lead to the tourism industry mounting a campaign against animal cruelty.
In consideration of these continued concerns and feedback received from our travellers, Gate 1 has decided to withdraw from our itineraries any sites and experiences with elephants, other than those encountered in the wild.
We hope you will join us in helping to protect elephants and supporting animal welfare.
Photo thanks to @davelaura