Another Tragic Death as a Result of Elephant Rides

Posted on by Ashley Fruno

Elephant TrekkingThe province of Krabi in Thailand is known the world over for majestic beaches, stunning sunsets and delicious tropical fruits. This time, however, Krabi is making headlines for the wrong reason—the tragic death of a 52-year-old German tourist during an elephant ride.

Kerstin Kretzschmar was on holiday in Thailand with her husband when she tragically fell from the top of her elephant, with her husband tumbling after. Ms. Kretzschmar was rushed to a nearby hospital and later pronounced dead, while her husband barely survived the terrible ordeal. Nobody has been charged in regard to the incident, but a full investigation by Thai authorities is currently underway.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time that a captive elephant has caused tragic headlines in the Asia-Pacific region: An 11-year-old girl was trampled to death in Vietnam on October 16.

While both of these events are heartbreaking, they could have easily been avoided. We as human beings need to learn that wild animals are not playthings; they’re individuals, sensitive creatures to which a life of enslavement causes undue frustration and misery.

Thailand is the world’s largest promoter of elephant camps and is home to the barbaric Phaajaan ritual, which is used to “break” baby elephants and force them to submit to humans. Phaajaan translates to “breaking the love between” (referring to the love between baby elephants and their mothers). After being beaten for days, stabbed with rusty nails, immobilized in wooden cages and deprived of food or water, the babies panic and collapse in exhaustion, defecate in fear, and scream out in terror and pain.

There’s no nice way to break a maternal bond, so instead, it’s done by force. To see video footage and to get more information about this cruel technique, please visit You can also help by pledging to boycott zoos and circuses today and help us stomp out elephant torture in the future!

Posted by Robert Fry