A heart-wrenching video of a baby elephant collapsing out of exhaustion in eastern Thailand has angered many animal-lovers online.
Believed to be around a year old, the elephant calf was tied to its mother which was giving rides to tourists as temperatures reached 104°F near Pattaya last week, reports MailOnline.
The video, captured by a concerned Filipino tourist, showed the young animal rolling on the ground in apparent extreme fatigue. The calf eventually manages to stand up as it tries to keep up with the adult elephant at the Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens.
According to the video uploader, the baby elephant had reportedly been walking around the area with its mother while collecting tourists.
“There are many more baby elephants tied with their mother walking around with tourists at their backs enjoying under the heat of the sun while these elephants are suffering,” the unnamed tourist was quoted as saying.
“This one baby elephant was so exhausted, and you can see the mother comforting and encouraging her to stand.”
The tourist, who works as a teacher in Myanmar, says she was spending her vacation in the area with friends when she captured the disheartening incident on film.
“I’m just concerned for the elephants and want to ensure their welfare is properly taken care of,” she added.
The clip has sparked outrage among netizens, with some blaming the tourists who patronize practices that abuse the animals.
“Poor darling. So tiny and forced to walk so far for so long. He’d have to take multiple steps just to keep up. Why the hell can’t he just be kept somewhere else and kept safe? Tourists have so much to account for when it comes to animal cruelty,” one commenter wrote.
“Wish people would just refuse to participate in such activities when on holiday. So distressing,” another chimed in.
When sought out for a comment, a spokesman for the Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens claimed that the elephant was neither tired nor mistreated.
“All of the elephants are healthy and treated very well,” the representative insisted. “If there is a problem they are treated by vets. All of the babies here are healthy.”
Forced to perform up to three times a day, the three-year-old animal reportedly became so weak and malnourished that its hind legs snapped while performing. Dumbo died three days after he was brought to a veterinary clinic.