The photos in question, which Nikki Beach have since taken down after they were posted on Facebook, were shared by the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand (WFFT) on social media which prompted a swarm of negative comments directed at the beach club.
Most of the comments lambast the beach club for animal rights abuse, since the baby elephant is seen walking on a narrow wooden bridg over a swimming pool with party goers on both sides in addition to pictures of tourists and models on top of the animal.
On Friday (March 27), Nikki Beach released a statement on Twitter that read: “Elephants are a highly respected and regarded symbol of Thailand. As a global company, Nikki beach respects every country's culture and traditions and as such, we fall into the normal behaviors in usage of elephants to represent their culture. We never intended to be disrespectful and/or offend anyone.”
Still, photos of the baby elephant continue to surface with one website, onegreenplanet.org, posting pictures of the animal seeming to help a man propose to his girlfriend and another where a model is riding the elephant.
Meanwhile, a Facebook group called "Boycott Cikki Beach 'Hotel' Phuket" has surfaced online with a several hundred "likes" already accumulated.
The WFFT originally posted the photos with this message: “Over the last 24 hours pictures of lavish parties with baby elephants and lots of drunk people have gone viral on Twitter and Facebook.
While on twitter a lively discussion went on, the resort in question 'Nikki Beach Phuket' quickly deleted all photos with the elephants, but we were able to save them before that happened.
Our question now is; What do you think of this? Do you think it is ok to use these young elephants for parties like this, is this legal and/or right? Do you too feel tourists should know better? We would love to hear your views so we can contact Nikki Beach and let them know your opinion. Please share!”