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A large news agency recently released a surprising video that seems to endorse a possibly abusive elephant attraction that opened late last year at Thailand’s Khao Kheow Open Zoo. One of the park’s most popular draws, the elephant swimming pool attracts scores of families and children who watch the underwater show from the comfort of an indoor theatre.
In the 49-second AFP clip, the elephant is forced to swim to the bottom of the pool six times as he is ridden and prodded by a mahout, who also pulls on his ears. On the other side of the barrier, children hit the glass and try to get the animal’s attention while hordes of parents film the sad event.
The elephant, meanwhile, seems for all the world like it’s simply trying to get back to the surface to breathe.