Some elephants seem to enjoy being part of a social group, even if that group includes humans. Other elephants are wary of people. All elephants should be approached with caution and never without the mahout present.
Some information about Asian Elephants.
Tethering is an integral part of responsible, everyday elephant management in human care. Facilities all around the world use ropes and chains for restraining their elephants for a wide variety of reasons. A regular husbandry routine that includes tethers habituates the elephant to the use of tethers and ensures that they can be used at any time, without stress or discomfort to the elephant. Whether during routine check-ups, socialization, birthing or at nighttime, this training can greatly help mahouts, keepers and veterinarians give a higher standard of care to their elephants.
When I travel, how do I know if the elephants or other wildlife I’m going to see are being treated ethically?