Success! Lonely Planet Agrees to Stop Promoting Elephant Rides

Viewing elephants has become a popular tourist attraction. In recent years, travel companies have been offering visitors an “exciting experience” of riding on the back of massive pachyderms while exploring jungle landscapes.

But when tourists sign up for these excursions, many don’t realize they are contributing to an industry that causes major suffering and abuse. Often, baby elephants are forcibly separated from their mothers, and tied down and beaten into submission before they carry travelers on their backs. 

Now, one major tourist book publisher has taken a stand against elephant rides, thanks to public pressure from a Care2 petition. 

Care2 Petition Demands No More Promotion For Cruel Elephant Rides

When Lacey Kohlmoos, Care2’s online organizing strategist, discovered that Lonely Planet was still promoting these elephant rides in their popular guidebooks and on their website, she took action.

As the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, Lonely Planet has enormous influence over what attractions tourists choose to visit. By taking out references to elephant rides, the publisher could help get rid of an industry based on the exploitation of elephants. 

So Kohlmoos decided to start a petition asking the company to stop promoting elephant rides.

More than 150,000 Care2 members agreed with her that the elephant abuse must stop, and signed her petition.

Big Victory!

That’s when she received an email response from Lonely Planet’s PR & Communications Manager. 

Kohlmoos explains:

“We discussed the issue via email over the course of a couple weeks. As a result of the petition and those discussions, Lonely Planet posted a statement saying that they do not condone elephant rides. They also took down from their website the posts promoting elephant rides that I had flagged for them as problematic. And they promised me that they are currently taking internal steps to make sure that all content promoting elephant rides that is not in line with their cruelty-free policy is taken down.”

How Cruel Are Elephant Rides?

Elephants are broken mentally and emotionally before they can be of use to the tourism industry. The elephants who survive the taming sessions are threatened with physical violence. They can be chained up so that they have limited room to move and are beaten wth bullhooks, sharp weapons similar to fireplace pokers, and then forced to perform unnatural activities.

If you can bear to watch it, here’s a video of Thai elephants being coerced into submission:

Now, thanks to Kohlmoos’s Care2 petition, Lonely Planet has stopped promoting elephant rides and also pledged to only include information regarding such activities when they are an unavoidable part of the experience of a destination, and always with information clearly stating why elephant rides should be avoided.

A huge shout-out to Kohlmoos and all you Care2 activists who signed her petition. 

Dozens of travel companies have already pulled elephant rides from their itineraries, and activists are putting pressure on the rest to help end the industry for good.

Fodor’s, the world’s largest publisher of English language travel and tourism information, is still sending tens of thousands of people to elephant ride attractions every year. Please sign Lacey Kohlmoos’s petition to demand that Fodor’s follow the lead of Lonely Planet by making a commitment to stop promoting elephant rides and shows on their website and in their books.

Photo Credit: thinkstock


Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

Melania P
Melania Padilla1 months ago


Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago

Great news.

Aaron F
Past Member 4 months ago

G*d gave us dominion over the care for and protect them...not to exploit them for our own selfish amusement...

Nicole H
Nicole H6 months ago

TO ALEX P. : you are a DISGUSTING, DESPICABLE CREATURE. NO, I don't call you a woman !!! You don't merit / deserve that name. How dare you writing over 16 lines about your matrimonial difficulties and the happiness you allegedly found now with your husband. THIS IS NOT THE PLACE TO WRITE YOUR LIFE STORY !!!!! THIS is the Care2 site, writing about and defending animal rights, women and Muslim women in particular, Afro Americans,Hispanic people, LGBTQ people and all other minorities who suffer from legislations or people who think they are SUPERIOR. Care2 also fights the global warming, the air pollution and political ideas which do NOT serve the people.. and a lot more... This is certainly NOT - NOT - NOT - a place to write your love story.... So get out of here !!!!!!!!! NOW !!!!!!!!!

Nicole H
Nicole H6 months ago

THIS MAKES MY DAY !!! Again, it proofs that standing together, hand in hand, fighting for the same cause : WE SOMETIMES SUCCEED IN OBTAINING A GOOD RESULT. The first thing these elephants endure is : calves are taken away from the cows when very very young. This makes training easier. Such training involves BAD sticking, beating, etc... a terrible life for a baby elephant. When old enough, they go in business. Usually they work 14/16 hours a day. Then they are chained up, so that they can not flee. No water, mud or sand bath, nothing ... these animals must be CLEAN for carrying a weight of 500 kilos (chair + 4 persons). Many have their back damaged and suffer 24/7. They hardly have a day off. They lack vet care, and sometimes have not enough and decent food & clean drinking water. People who participate to such elephant riding are DESPICABLE MONSTERS !! Each and every country should have the decency to BAN this CRUEL "amusement". I say it AGAIN : ANIMALS ARE NOT OUR TOYS !!! We are here to help them, to support them, to care for them, to protect them ......... NOT TO TORTURE THEM !! Thanks to Kohlmoos for writing this petition, to all who signed it and to Lonely Planet for having decided NOT to PROMOTE elephant rides any longer. WHO FOLLOWS ????

Margie F
Margie FOURIE6 months ago

Good news, but a little bit hazy.

Toni W
Toni W6 months ago


Toni W
Toni W6 months ago

Hope this is true - TYFS

One Heart inc
One Heart inc6 months ago