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Coronavirus freed these elephants from performing tips for people

(CNN) — Elephants compelled to carry out tips and carry vacationers in a Thailand park are to be liberated from their controversial work as a consequence of the coronavirus, the park’s proprietor says.

Anchalee Kalampichit, the proprietor of Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, closed the park on Monday after vacationer numbers plummeted from “hundreds” every day to lower than 20, she informed CNN.

Kalampichit mentioned she would take the chance to revamp the park and let the 78 elephants on web site roam freely for the primary time.

When it reopens sooner or later, she mentioned, the park would focus as a substitute on “educating” vacationers about elephants — and would now not power them to hold vacationers or carry out tips.

Following strain from critics who say such wildlife tourism is cruel, Kalampichit mentioned she had already determined to make a change final 12 months to allow the elephants to dwell happier lives and had visited elephant sanctuaries together with her employees to study them.

She mentioned the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated her choice, as a drop off in footfall successfully compelled the park to shut.

“I didn’t know what else to do in the camp instead of shows and elephant riding. I talked to one lady who is well known for saving elephants and nature at the Elephant Nature Park… she lets the elephants go around unchained.

“We need to do the identical factor at Maesa Elephant Camp as a substitute of using,” she mentioned.

“On 23 March I decided to close and asked my staff to keep the seating [for spectators] and put them aside… We put away everything we used to have for tourists and my announcement to the public is that we will stop from now on shows and riding on the elephants,” she mentioned.

Kalampichit mentioned that for most of the 78 elephants dwelling on the location, this may be the primary time they might not need to put on seats for vacationers. “We don’t want to do it anymore,” she mentioned.

The Thai authorities introduced on Wednesday it might ban the vast majority of international nationals from coming into the nation as a part of measures designed to deal with the unfold of the coronavirus.

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