Refuse to Ride campaign arrives in Jaipur
The next phase of the Wildlife SOS Refuse TO Ride Campaign has taken off and has hit the streets of Jaipur. Jaipur auto rickshaws roll out with ‘Refuse to Ride’ campaign message!
In an attempt to educate tourists about the importance of saving India’s elephants and promoting the message of protecting elephants, wildlife conservation NGO Wildlife SOS is using airplanes, trains and autos as a platform for the ‘Refuse To Ride” campaign. Vistara Airline, a collaboration between Singapore Airlines and TATA has dedicated a page in the inflight magazine to educate tourists and the public about how elephant riding is promoting cruelty and brutality to elephants in India.
The Refuse to Ride campaign has now reached Jaipur city, home to Amer Fort and infamous elephant joyrides! The abuse and torture meted to the elephants in Jaipur is well-documented, yet this exploitative business continues to flourish as the demand for elephant-interactive experiences never subsides.
A common means of travel within the city are auto-rickshaws, fondly known as tuk-tuks amongst tourists. Wildlife SOS has partnered with a fleet of 200 auto-rickshaws to actively promote elephant protection and responsible tourism. Emblazoned with the message “Joyrides on elephants is elephant abuse”, the autos-rickshawswill be travelling within the city and bringing the important message of elephant abuse out on the streets.
Trains like the ‘Gatimaan Express’ too carried the same message on food trays and chair covers encouraging tourists to empower themselves about how they can help save and protect elephants in India by accessing the resource link – Refuse to Ride. ‘Refuse to Ride’ campaign aims to educate tourists and public about the harsh realities surrounding poaching and training of elephants for tourist rides. Baby elephants are poached from the wild at a very tender age and their willful, wild spirit is broken using painful, cruel methods.
Although it may not be readily visible under the sheen of decoration and paint, Jaipur’s elephants bear the deep scars of abuse. Most elephants used for rides and other tourist amusements have been stolen from the wild and beaten into submission to make them “tame” enough to take orders. Many travellers are unaware of the bloodshed behind the scenes in breaking the spirits of these endangered animals and it doesn’t end there. A “riding elephant” can expect a lonely lifetime of hard labour with little or no access to nutritious food, fresh water, or quality veterinary service when the injuries inevitably begin to crop up. Well over 100 elephants are currently being used for rides and other forms of tourist amusement in Jaipur. Some are blind, and many are over 50 years old. Others have severe health issues like tuberculosis and all of the elephants suffer from foot problems.
This is all being done to maximize profits with no regard for the elephants’ welfare or India’s wildlife laws.
In 2018, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), Ministry of the Environment & Forests, Government of India published a shocking report about the dire conditions of the elephants giving rides at Amer Fort. In addition to the legal violations, many of these elephants were trafficked into Jaipur illegally.
Jaipur has been ranked as one of the 10 best places to visit in all of Asia. Tourists are drawn to the Pink City to experience its stunning historic forts, monuments, and museums. But Jaipur is also becoming known for the cruelty inflicted upon the elephants there.According to Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO of Wildlife SOS, the sad truth of captivity that a baby elephant is poached from the wild at a tender age of 2 from its natural habitat and familial herd is cleverly blanketed with “joy” of checking one item off your bucket list!
If you are travelling within Jaipur and happen to notice the auto-rickshaws with “RefuseToRide” messaging, do take a photo and tag Wildlife SOS using #RefuseToRide. Join the movement and sign the Refuse to Ride petition; https://bit.ly/2MMannH