In Nepal’s Chitwan National Park and the forests surrounding it, elephants used to be chained for as many as 19 hours a day. The links lay heavy on their ankles, preventing them from moving more than a few inches in any direction and leaving them unable to take shelter from the sun. They stood in their own waste. Some developed arthritis and foot infections.
Even when they were unchained, it was only to work, carrying tourists around on safari or carrying rangers on patrol—work the elephants have been forced to do for generations.
The process of training Asian elephants to carry humans can be brutal, and some captive elephants in Southeast Asia are severely overworked. But since 2014, 83 elephants