What has happened about the charges of animal abuse? Have the staff involved been fired? Were the owners charged/fined? I don't want to visit until I am sure I am not supporting animal abuse.
Thank you for your enquiry; and thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond regarding the allegations made against us, as there are two sides to every story. The NSPCA press release was part of an apparent smear campaign based on out-of-context photos strung together in a fictional story. Because of this, the case is now sub-judice, which prevents us from discussing too much in detail. However, we can point out the following relevant facts, which may give you some more insight into the facts behind the “allegations”:
This story has a long and complex history; and involves several issues.
•The footage comes from 2008, six years ago.
•The footage was taken at Elephants of Eden in the Eastern Cape, not at the Knysna Elephant Park.
•KEP never has, and never will, condone abusive training methods of any kind.
•The wounds depicted in the photos are not related to the training methods depicted in the photos. These are two completely separate incidents.
•Emergency treatment and rehabilitation was immediately administered to the elephants that were abused - by the Knysna Elephant Park.
The Knysna Elephant Park has dedicated the last twenty years to elephants and is both nationally and internationally recognised as one of the best captive elephant facilities in the world. We have even worked towards changing traditionally accepted elephant management to better suit the welfare needs of our elephants. In 2009, a research unit was started, specifically aimed at improving elephant welfare through science. For the last five years, this unit has dedicated itself to collecting data that have directly contributed to improving elephant welfare and management at KEP. Researchers, volunteers and students are able to monitor and observe the elephants through the day and night, gaining insight into all aspects of elephant life at the Park. These data have led to changes in diet and feeding practices, changes in the way that tourism interactions are conducted, the alteration of stabling facilities, improving handling techniques, amongst others. The Park has taken on board the advice and feedback of the unit, on an almost daily basis, and allowed continual change and upgrade in their management style – always for the sake of the elephants! In some cases, these changes have been carried out at huge cost, but the Park has never faltered in their drive towards the best possible care for their elephants.
Should we have dealt with it differently in 2008? Yes, maybe…. We were as shocked and dismayed by the incident, as people are now. However, as always, the priority, in 2008, was our elephants and the fact that they needed our help. We did everything we could to turn the situation around….and we did. Under the specialised care of trained and trusted staff, the two elephants depicted in some of the photos were nursed back to health; and the bonds broken by the abusers were rebuilt. The isolated incident depicted in the allegations took place six years ago at a different facility, under different supervision. This has never happened; and will never happen at the Knysna Elephant Park.
I hope I have been able to give you another perspective about this case.
Please feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have. We would welcome a visit from yourself, so that you can visit our elephants and facilities for yourself – and you can then evaluate the Park, its elephants and its staff for yourself.
Knysna Elephant Park
Oh shush knysna elephant park... offering elephant rides and what not? Did you see the pictures? Thats you!get your act together and take care of the elephants not hurt them and put them up for human entertainment. Keep them happy. Stop breaking their spirits and making excuses. Trip advisor is a disappointment for even putting this place on the map. A real disappointment.
Screw you and your response Knysna rep! You all abise and TORTURE YOUR ELEPHANTS! I hope everyone who comes enjoys their ride on the ppor soul that was abused for it to happen. If there is a hell, the owners, trainers and reps of this park deserve to burn in it
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