Elephant Riding at Amber Fort, India

Amber Fort is one of India’s biggest tourist attractions, forming part of the ‘cultural triangle’, and attracting thousands of global tourists every day. However, it is infamous for its use of elephants, where over 100 elephants, many of whom are blind and lame, are forced to haul tourists up and down the steep fort.

Spreading Awareness With Viral-Video Platform, UNILAD

We spent three days filming activity at the fort, as well as a day filming the “Elephant Village” where the elephants live when they’re not being made to work.

During this time we witnessed elephants forced to work despite being blind or suffering from wounds or cracked feet - one mahout (handler) had even embedded sharp metal into his wooden rod as a form of control. In the village, we found that the elephants are either giving more rides, or are kept heavily chained and alone in “concrete boxes”. Many were swaying repetitively - a sign of severe psychological distress.

We launched the footage with viral-video platform UNILAD where it received over 2.5 million views, and was shared by 22,000 people, reaching an audience that may not engage with animal rights issues on a daily basis.

The 1,500 comments were a testament to how powerful social media can be when creating change for good, with commentators stating that: “I can’t believe this is happening”; “I no longer want to ride an elephant”; “I deeply regret that I rode one, I thought it was ethical”.

It is our hope that this video can help to play a part in ending the abuse at Amber Fort, which is facing mounting legal pressure, and increasing public disapproval.

Footage Requested by PETA

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals) have long campaigned against the elephant abuse at Amber Fort. They requested our footage and compiled their own video on the issue of elephant riding. They published the video across their affiliates, meaning that the footage and its message was able to reach a truly global audience. Their video has collectively received around 550,000 views, helping to raise awareness about the abuse behind elephant riding.

Footage Requested by The Logical Indian

To engage an Indian audience, we created a video for Indian media platform, The Logical Indian, about the elephant abuse at Amber Fort and Haathi Goan (the “Elephant Village”) - the video garnered positive engagement and received over 400,000 views.

They write:

What feels like a joy ride to the tourists, in fact, is a nightmare for the elephants. Chained and bruised, these elephants suffer silently as their masters push and prod them to cover the distance. These magnificent species are chained to confinement after the daily ordeal. A joy ride it is definitely not.”

All of our footage and images, including the clips above, are free-to-use for anyone using them to help animal rights.