Tourists willingly pass over money to so called 'keepers of elephants' who have normally been taken from their mothers or captured. The elephants are ridden to provide tourists with entertainment.
Ignorant tourists willingly pass over money to owners of these elephants, who have been taken from their mothers or captured or perhaps were orphans. They gather round ready to pass over the money to have their photos taken with the elephant. They don't realise the money doesn't go to feeding the elephant enough food to survive. Elephants aren't supposed to be in a busy city!