AFTER MATADOR POSTED an article about why you should think twice before visiting Thailand’s Tiger Temple, many people also brought up some shocking points concerning elephant tours in Southeast Asia. Riding an elephant was once an attraction I would have gladly participated in, but I will now refrain from. Here is why:
- In 1986, the Asian Elephant was placed on the endangered species list.
- By 2020 it is predicted that the wild Asian Elephant will be extinct.
- 75% of the jungle where Asian elephants used to live, has been cut down.
- Less than 30,000 Asian elephants remain in the wild.
- No wild Asian elephant remain in the Cambodian jungle. Elephants are killed for ivory, forced to provides rides for tourists, haul logs at illegal logging facilities, and used and abused for entertainment at zoos and circuses.
Actress and animal rights supporter Ashley Bell cares about these creatures so much, that she recently took to NYC’s Times Square dressed like a banana, to raise awareness for this issue. Her documentary film, Love and Bananas, is about rescuing Asian elephants in Cambodia; I admire anyone willing to get a little silly, in an effort to tell others about their passion and worldly causes. I’d rather pay money to see that, than the Naked Cowboy, any day.
Ashley Belly’s Indiegogo campaign has already raised $21,530, but still has more to go. Please check out her campaign’s website for more details, and stay tuned for an exclusive interview with Ashley where she reveals more about her project, her passion, and why we should pay more attention to the problems Asian elephants in Cambodia face.