Today: May 23, 2018, 6:58 pm
Travel & Leisure

Elephants of Chitwan, tourism and conservation

Treatment of elephants in Chitwan national park of Nepal have been an issue like in many other Asian countries. Bull hooks are used and elephants are sometimes starved to make them follow human instructions. This is not pleasant to many eyes but the story of the other side is even worse. Chitwan national park is their home and tourism is their new job. Without tourism, they will have even worse job like in circus or street shows.
Tourist bathing with elephant in Chitwan national park.
Tourist bathing with elephant in Chitwan national park. 2017-08-28 16:48:34
After the centuries of massive deforestation and hunting, the conservation effort started only in 1973 with the establishment of Chitwan national park. The national park was designated as a World Heritage Site but UNESCO in 1984 for its unique biological resources of exclusive universal value.

However it was quite a challenge to maintain balanced conservation and let locals and animal both use the local resources. Animals have been victim of poaching, habitat loss and food shortage making them trespass into local villages and farm. Locals are killed and crops are destroyed which made locals support poaching in the past.

However tourism made things better by increasing employment and business opportunity. The increased revenue were used on electric fencing and other local development projects. With the public participation, the conservation effort of the Chitwan national park became successful.

Elephants play a huge role in conservation and tourism. They are the most effective means of patrolling the vast jungle. It is possible to visit the animal habitat only on the back of elephant.

The elephants need to be broken into to make them ready for people to ride on. The training involved torture and starvation which bothers many tourists visiting Chitwan. But what people fail to see is how such a large animals are fed if they lost their new job in tourism. The consequences will be even worse.

Moreover it will also be unfair to poor country like Nepal and the families who are employed by these elephant based tourism.

For long time, western world including colonialists were the one who used elephants for their prestige, hunting and wars. Let’s check these facts.

Kings and lords, generals, and Maharajas went out in large parties, carried by 10, 20, 30 or even 40 elephants; their servants often drugged and baited tigers before they arrived so the hunters were in little danger.

After ascending the throne in 1911, King George V and his retinue traveled north to Nepal, slaying 39 tigers in 10 days. Colonel Geoffrey Nightingale shot more than 300 tigers.

According to historian Mahesh Rangarajan, “over 80,000 tigers…were slaughtered in 50 years from 1875 to 1925.

IN 1,950es models and Hollywood starlets draped themselves in cat skin coats, a fashion craze for fur took hold in the U.S. and Europe.

– Posted by Sharon Guynup in Cat Watch by National Geographic

Expansion of Indian railway from 1860 - 1910, caused the massive deforestation when the railway track increased from 1,349 kms to 51,658 kms. For every mile of track laid, 860 sleepers were required, which had an expected lifespan of approximately 12 to 14 years. In the 1870’s, it was calculated that every year one million sleepers were needed.

“BY NOT VISITING CHITWAN, you are supporting a cause of their starvation and death. They might be treated even worse as they will end up in street circus and means of other type of entertainment. Also many other animals like Royal Bengal Tigers and Asian single horned Rhinos will be in more threat as the government owned elephants are the most effective means of patrolling jungle.


-> Visit Chitwan national park but avoid Elephant safari. You can do Jeep safari instead.

-> Use lodges that doesn’t own Elephants.

-> Avoid Sauraha which is crowded with tourists that increase workload to elephants and disturb the habitat of animals. Visit more pristine side of Chitwan like Meghauli, Jagatpur.

-> If you have to ride elephants ride government elephants which enjoys more freedom and are used for good cause.

Press Information P Ltd.
Galkopakha-29, Thamel

Rabindra Adhikari
Tour Manager

# 663 Words
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