Unethical animal tourism refers to any situation in which animals are exploited for economic gain through tourism. Nowadays, animal tourism has been a part of travel. With more people traveling the world, animals are experiencing rising amounts of suffering. According to the World Tourism Organization , 1.4 billion people traveled in 2018, travel is more accessible than before. There remain a large number of many tourists who engage in unethical animal tourism, despite the fact that awareness of it is rising presently.
Examples of unethical wildlife tourism include:
- Zoos and wildlife parks
- Elephant tourism (Elephant riding, sanctuaries, walks, etc.)
- Animal photography (Selfies with tigers etc.)
- Performing animals (eg. Dancing monkeys, cobra charming, swimming with dolphins, cuddling with a baby orangutan etc.)
Many places in captivity do not provide animals with the space and resources they require to live naturally. Animals are frequently detached from their natural habitats and grossly mistreated. Animal cruelty and abuse are common in the wildlife tourism industry, and many countries have inadequate animal protection laws and regulations in place.
Tips for ethical wildlife sanctuaries
A good rule of thumb for becoming more responsible tourists is that if animals are involved in an attraction, it’s likely not something we should do. And, if we want to see animals in the wild (the proper wild), we must do our research online to ensure that the tour is completely ethical, responsible, and safe-manner, unfortunately, the majority are not.
Ethical animal tourism details observing animals in their natural environment with reputable companies that are known to be ethical and work hard to protect them. Traveling with these organizations and tour operators, making donations to them, and recommending them to other travelers are all ways to show support.
Do the detailed research
To protect animal welfare, it is essential to conduct research before engaging in any type of animal tourism. Seek out and support sincerely responsible wildlife tourism activities rather than lending our support to organizations that make money off of animal abuse and mistreatment. We can learn more by doing the following:
READ ONLINE REVIEWS: Other travelers will undoubtedly write about their experiences. Read the negative or positive reviews to see what people are upset about – is it the animal’s treatment during that activity?
READ ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: Ethical companies will generally have a post on their website or blog section expressing their attributes and any preservation initiatives they’re involved in, which will provide a clearer picture of their values.
Always consider your impact
It is currently possible to have an incredible experience while also helping the animals. Rather than contributing to their abuse, exploitation, and eventual extinction.
Keep in mind that engaging with animals should never result in their suffering. If enough people are demanding change, it will eventually happen. Due to public outcry, many operators are now making it clear that certain activities, are no longer an option. Elephant rides are one of these.
Though the animals often suffer for the humans’ benefit. We must recognize that unethical animal tourism can have serious consequences and can cause long-term harm to the animals.
Learn from our mistakes and educate others
We all make mistakes, and sometimes despite our best efforts, things don’t turn out as planned. If there is even a slight possibility that our impact will be harmful, acknowledge that. If we have ever been involved in unethical animal tourism, we need to be aware of our mistakes. Learn from them! It is our responsibility as ethical travelers to utilize every opportunity to inform other tourists about ethical or unethical animal tourism and responsible wildlife vacations.
But sadly, a lot of animal encounters take effect in an unethical manner all over the world. Too enthusiastic tourists often engage in these activities. Despite appearing to be innocent, it has a horrible effect on welfare. The fact is that many of us engage in unethical animal tourism, frequently without recognizing it.
People who make a livelihood from unethical animal tourism will look for another source of income. Once the market they serve is gone.