Sri Lanka Bans Drunk Elephant Riding And Prohibits Making Baby Elephants Work

In recent years, there's a good chance that you've noticed how protective of elephants so many of us have become.

And much of that has to do with the widespread realization that they aren't anywhere near as indestructible as they look. This is especially true when you expose them to colder temperatures than they're used to or keep them enclosed in a small space.

So while the treatment of elephants went more or less unregulated for decades, it seems that multiple nations throughout the world are making up for lost time with new laws and legal battles centering around their welfare.

And although they already had some strict laws protecting elephants, it seems that no government right now is more serious about ensuring their safety and comfort than the one presiding over Sri Lanka.

On August 19, Sri Lanka's State Minister of Wildlife Protection — Wimalaweera Dissanayaka — announced a new suite of regulations restricting how elephants are used in industrial projects.

According to Insider, this is particularly relevant to the tourism and logging industries where elephants are often put to work in the nation.

That consideration likely has a lot to do with why elephants aren't allowed to appear in films unless they're produced by Sri Lanka's government and the creatures are placed under veterinary supervision.

And while many of the new laws are specifically aimed at the individuals and companies that own elephants there, one specifically mentions their handlers.

As Insider reported, owners are responsible for ensuring that the people they employ to ride them (called mahouts) do so without any influence from drugs or alchohol.

If they don't take this regulation seriously and look the other way, they can find themselves in prison for up to three years and their elephant will end up in state custody.

In a particular dig at the nation's tourism industry, the government also requires that no more than four people ride an elephant at a time and do so from a "well-padded saddle."

As for the logging industry, it seems that companies in that realm will have to plan the jobs that require elephants more carefully.

That's because elephants are only permitted to do logging work for up to four hours per day and none of these hours can take place after night falls.

It's also now enshrined in law that elephants under two years of age are prohibited from working entirely and must be kept with their mothers.

And any logger hoping to get those four hours out of the elephants must also set aside two-and-a-half hours per day for them to bathe.

After all, bathing in mud is how elephants cool down on hot days so there's no getting around that if you want to keep them safe and healthy.

It's also for that reason that any privately-owned elephant must undergo a health checkup every six months.

It seems that they've covered all their bases with this one. Although I suppose the fact that they thought of the consequences of letting drunk people handle elephants should have been our first clue.

h/t: Insider

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