For half a century, Tiger Tops, a popular resort in southern Nepal, offered elephant rides as a top attraction to draw in thousands of tourists from across the world.
But it has now decided to scrap such safaris -- following complaints of cruelty, disease and stress to the animal -- and focus on sustainable and animal-friendly tourism practices, reported Nepali Times.
Earlier this year, it unchained 12 captive elephants, inviting tourists to view them in their natural habitat instead. Tourists are forbidden to touch, click selfies, or feed the elephants, who are allowed to go about their natural lives without much hindrance.
Guests can follow the elephants shortly after sunrise on their morning excursion to the river, where the animals are free to graze, reported the Kathmandu Post in January.
“Moving away from elephant safaris 50 years after we introduced them, seemed too big a step, but I had seen young elephants being trained at the breeding centre. It was horrifying, they are scarred for life,” Tiger Tops chairman Kristjan Edwards told the Post.