Of all the unique and exotic transportation methods available in the world riding an elephant tops all others in terms of bragging rights; elephants are massive, majestic creatures and seeing the world from their back is a surreal experience. When planning your trip to Thailand, make sure you take advantage of riding on an elephant since this is not something available anywhere you go.
The elephants used on treks are almost always female; the female displays a more stable temperament and the slightly smaller size is an advantage as well. Many people believe that the elephants used as mounts are from domesticated lines but that’s not the case; the elephant has never been fully domesticated. Though efforts have been made to domesticate this animal in the past the results were poor. The elephants that work with humans today were captured wild and then tamed; a wild elephant is very receptive to training.
The intelligence of elephants has been compared to dolphins and primates; they are very social animals and are extremely adaptable. Some groups have questioned whether using elephants for tourism is humane or not but elephant tourism has an important role in elephant conservation worldwide. In Thailand for example, elephants that were once used for logging found themselves and their handlers displaced when logging was banned. Without income for food the elephant’s numbers would have dwindled and died but thanks to elephant tourism the animals now have a good, positive source of income from tourists. Travelers can feel good about taking an elephant trek; they are helping to keep a place in this world for a marvelous creature.
Related articles: http://www.epa.gov/bioiweb1/aquatic/exotic.html