The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star posted a series of snaps on Instagram of herself posing with elephants during her mid April getaway. One image featured the TV personality with her hand on a trunk as a handler sat atop the animal. Another showed her hugging an elephant’s trunk and making a kissy face as husband Kanye West smiled. Kardashian leans against an elephant trunk as the animal wraps its appendage around her in the third snap. She captioned the gallery, “Missing Bali! and the amazing elephant sanctuary.”
Many of her 136 million followers quickly left scathing comments, pointing out that she probably wasn’t at an actual animal sanctuary.
“Sanctuary’s do not permit elephant riding, so sad that you are blind to the abuse the elephants are going through. do you research,” wrote charlilboy2.
“It is important to know that this isn’t an ‘elephant sanctuary’ as indicated with the items on its back, the person sitting on its head and the knife right hand punctured into the elephants head to control its direction,” commented argnyc. “A real elephant sanctuary is a place for elephants that have brutally tortured by being used for logging (enslaving elephants to carry 100s of pounds up and down mountains, which shortens their lifespan 50 years at minimum) or elephants brutally tortured for tourist riding and entertainment. The way their ‘owners’ train them is a term translated into English as ‘breaking the spirit’ – it’s horrific. Please look it up.”
“Oh Kimmy, for someone who is trying to become a lawyer, you need to work on being more attentive and research oriented,” urged kristinsbing. “This is not a sanctuary, and these elephants have been abused and tied up, so that they can cater to tourists’ needs (riding them etc). There are many certified sanctuaries in Asia and Africa that allow you a firsthand experience into the life & care and preservation of these wonderful animals WITHOUT degrading or harming them.”
Multiple people also declared that they were unfollowing the social media mogul, saying that they know believed she “supports elephant torture.”
People were baffled as to why the star still had not taken down her post by Thursday, May 2.
“The fact that you still haven’t taken this down or apologized is perplexing,” wrote kyliemidyette.
Though Kardashian didn’t tag the alleged sanctuary she went to, some speculate it might have been Mason Adventures, which has an Elephant Park & Lodge that it boasts “is Bali’s only dedicated elephant rescue facility.” The group, which touts itself as “Bali’s longest running and most awarded Adventure Tour Operator,” shared a photo of the reality star and rapper on April 18 with the caption, “Guess who showed up at our Koko Bambu Restaurant a few days ago?!”
Mason Adventures insists on its website that they “do not use brutal or cruel training methods” on its elephants, and that the rides cause “no discomfort or injury to the elephant’s back.”
According to a 2017 study by World Animal Protection that looked into the lives of 3,000 elephants at various tourist venues in Asia, 77 percent of the giant animals were found to be living in conditions deemed “severely cruel” and “deeply concerning.” Per the report, elephants were chained up, provided a poor diet, and had no interaction with other elephants when they weren’t performing.
This isn’t the first time Kardashian has found herself wrapped around an elephant controversy. In November 2018, after the reality star posed for photos on the back of an elephant while in Bali, many slammed her, including Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan.
Kardashian responded, “We visited an elephant sanctuary that has rescued these elephants from Sumatra where they would have otherwise gone extinct. It is an organization that is working to save these beautiful animals. We did full research before going.”