Taiwanese couple Lin Yi-xian and Chris Wang are tossing out their own wedding photos that showed them posing with captive elephants, something that they thought was romantic at the time. They’re still in love and still together, but they will not honor their marriage with pictures that show them riding on and posing with elephants suffering in captivity.
The couple traveled to the Chitwan National Park in Nepal with their daughter for a belated wedding photo shoot. They had taken lots of photos posing with a decorated captive elephant, when Wang noticed something disturbing. As he explained in a Facebook post that has gone viral:
During the shoot, while we stood next to the elephant, stroking it and thanking it, it didn’t say anything. But when the shoot finished, it suddenly looked at me with tears in its eyes. I will never forget that look. I felt that it had a lot it wanted to say, and I also felt that although it didn’t intend on resisting, it felt very sad.
Maybe it has the power to face all sorts of wild beasts. But it is humans who it cannot break away from. Because it knows what the consequences are of going ballistic and seeking revenge, so it continues to bear this suffering. At the time, I only said to it, “Thank you for all of your hard work today. The universe needs you. Everyone needs you.” But in my heart I actually felt very sad. Because I knew I couldn’t do anything to help it, just like facing a patient with an incurable disease, I didn’t know what I could do to help it.
So we decided not to use these photos but to share this story publicly, because I don’t want to see any elephant exist solely for the purpose of human entertainment.
This couple gave up their wedding photos with the elephant. The rest of us can certainly pass on elephant rides, selfies, and performances and work to ensure that these intelligent, family-oriented, majestic animals are allowed to live the life that nature intended.