An excited crowd of tourists cheered on an elephant show in Taman Safari in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, as the elephants were stabbed in their trunks by their handlers.
This shocking animal abuse was documented by Born Free, a wildlife charity and Aaron Gekoski, a photojournalist. He said the photos of the stab wounds on the elephants’ trunks were inflicted by the trainers as a means to control the animals.
Other abuse taking place by the animal trainers includes pulling the elephants’ tails and punching them in their trunks.
This zoo is a member of the World Associations of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) which mandates its members to treat all animals in their capticity with the utmost care.
Photo journalist Gekoski said: “Every day the elephants perform in shows which involve elaborate reconstructions of human and elephant conflict caused by the palm oil industry. After a show when we were there, the elephants became boisterous. A handler was seen to punch one on its trunks and pull its tail in order to control it.
“On closer inspection, it appeared the handler was concealing a sharp object in his hand, which caused multiple puncture wounds on the elephant’s trunk. After checking out the other elephants, they also had similar wounds. Security saw us documenting what was happening and asked us to put our cameras away.”