This Is What Happens Inside Elephants' Bodies When People Ride Them
Add to that, each ride actually can contribute to long-term physical injuries for the animals.
The weight of carrying tourists and a trainer on an elephant's back is grueling - and can cause severe damage to an elephant's spine.
"Instead of smooth, round spinal disks, elephants have sharp bony protrusions that extend upwards from their spine," Carol Buckley, president of Elephant Aid International, said. "These bony protrusions and the tissue protecting them are vulnerable to weight and pressure coming from above."
In addition to wearing down the delicate tissue and bones on an elephant's back, the chairs can also damage the skin and cause painful lesions on the elephant's body, according to Buckley.
Luckily, some places that previously provided these painful rides are starting to transform their practices. Here, tourists help care for elephants instead of riding them.