Kim Kardashian is receiving backlash after posting pictures from an elephant park which is known to treat its animals poorly.
The reality TV star shared the photos to her Instagram earlier this week, showing herself and husband Kanye West posing alongside the majestic animals at Bali’s Mason Elephant Park and Lodge.
The elephants seemed content enough in the photos, in which one is seen munching on grass, and another is wrapping its trunk around Kim, so it’s possible the 38-year-old believed the animals were being treated well.
However, according to the Mirror, investigators saw staff, called mahouts, regularly tapping the elephants with hooked pick-axe style spurs, known as ganchos, to make them go where they wanted.
Signs located in the park reportedly insist the ganchos are only used in emergencies, and a worker said the staff are told to hide the ganchos when they’re not using them.
As well as being hit with the ganchos, the animals are regularly kept chained up, with little space to move, until they’re needed to give a ride to a tourist.
It seems one of the elephants is chained up in the first of Kim’s photos:
The Mirror report a spokeswoman for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) explained how similar elephant parks can be found across the globe, and pointed out that visiting them serves to support the improper treatment of elephants.
All over the world, tourist traps offer the chance to climb on to an elephant’s back without divulging to the visitors what these animals endure in order to force them to allow this. Keeping elephants in captivity is cruel.
They are routinely chained up for hours at a time while eating and sleeping and forced to perform tasks for the enjoyment of tourists.
Riding elephants or visiting camps that force elephants to come into contact with humans directly supports this abuse.
After Kim shared the picture on Instagram, many of her followers commented their disapproval.
One person responded:
Do better research next time, don’t go to fake sanctuaries that chain up elephants and torture/beat them into submission.
Bali is beautiful but please don’t tell people you are at a sanctuary when you are not.
Elephants are beaten and tortured where you are and as many already have said, you can tell you are not at a sanctuary when someone is riding the elephant and the rider is using a hook to control the elephant.
I know it’s very hard to tell a legitimate sanctuary vs one that isn’t [because] many companies lie but please do your research next time and at the very least, remove the “elephant sanctuary” from your caption [because] we don’t want more people thinking THIS is ok.
A place which treats animals with such contempt should not be in business; let alone benefit from cruelty.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.