Elephant tourism: An analysis and recommendations for public health, safety, and animal welfare
Grant, R., Warwick, C., Steedman, C. and Pilney, A. (2023). Elephant tourism: An analysis and recommendations for public health, safety, and animal welfare. International Journal of One Health. 9 (2). https://doi.org/10.14202/IJOH.2023.49-66
|Grant, R., Warwick, C., Steedman, C. and Pilney, A.
Background and Aim: Elephants are exploited for public entertainment tourism throughout Asia and Africa. Areas of concern include public health and safety and animal welfare.
Materials and Methods: We reviewed over 500 publications and additional materials and performed a risk analysis using precautionary and preventative approaches.
Results: We identified at least 12 confirmed or potential zoonotic and other transmissible infections relevant to the elephant tourism sector, and at least 13 areas of animal welfare concern.
Conclusion: Infection and injury risks between humans and captive elephants cannot be safely controlled where close contact experiences are involved, arguably creating an unredeemable and indefensible public health and safety situation. Elephant welfare within some sectors of the close-contact interactive tourism industry continues to involve significant mistreatment and abuse. To alleviate key one health concerns outlined in this study, we recommend several types of regulation, monitoring, and control regarding interactions at the human-captive elephant interface. These include legal bans on the promotion and performance of close contact experiences, combined with strong enforcement protocols; new policies toward discouraging elephant tourism; 24/7 surveillance of captive elephants; and the adoption of independent scientific positive list systems for tourism promoters or providers regarding public observation of free-ranging elephants within national parks and protected areas.
|animal welfare, elephant tourism, one health, public health, safety, zoonoses.
|International Journal of One Health
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
|13 Aug 2023
|Publication process dates
|27 Jul 2023
|16 Jun 2023
File Access Level
|Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
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