Easy guide to ethical animal tourism
Original post: Another World Adventures
An important consideration for all travellers is ethical animal tourism. If you have ever been on a wilderness adventure trip, you know that a close wildlife encounter is an experience that enriches the trip.
But tourism can have a side effect of encouraging practises that harm animals if it’s not managed in a responsible way. And as travellers, it is your responsibility to make an effort to protect and conserve the natural environment for all wildlife during your trip.
Another World Adventures often feature travels that include wildlife encounters. We know this is exciting for adventure seekers, but we also want it to be a good experience for animals too. Therefore, we always make sure that the trips follow ethical animal tourism principals. But travellers have responsibilities too. So here our short and simple guide to doing your bit.
Animal welfare: what is it?
Ethical animal tourism means first of all assuring basic wellbeing conditions. These ‘five freedoms’ are a basic checklist to keep in mind
- Freedom from hunger and thirst.
- Freedom from discomfort.
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease.
- Freedom to express normal behaviour.
- Freedom from fear and distress.
Before your travels you should always make sure that local operators respect this five basic freedoms. You can also check this during your animal encounters. If you are involved in a camel or horse ride, for example, check the wellbeing of animals and how they are treated. If you notice something wrong, speak out and report it.
Why it’s better not to ride elephants
We all love these grey giants. They are intelligent and steal our hearts when we see them caring for their babies. We don’t believe they should be ridden during treks and tours. Please enjoy elephants from the ground, not their backs. It’s a sad reality that these creatures are often taken from the wild when they are babies and are treated with cruelty in order to provide riding experiences for tourists.
The feature image we’ve used for our blog is from a fantastic safari adventure through Kruger National Park and Swaziland where you’ll see these incredible creatures.
Be careful to local cuisine
What better way to taste a local culture than trying its traditional food? We know how adventure seekers love to experience a place in multiple ways, including getting to know local people and their way of life. Yet, this is no excuse for animal cruelty. You shouldn’t eat local cuisine that involves wild or endangered animals, because we have to protect them, not hunt them. Ethical animals tourism goes beyond the mere animal encounters. Learn more about the work of WildAid in curbing the demand for animal products such as shark fin soup here.
Do not pay to touch or take pics with wild animals
Everyone loves to get in contact with animals, and everyone hopes to get good pictures of their encounters. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as those encounters happen in the wild, or a protected place such as National Park where animals live freely and happily.
One sad example is the practice of taking pictures with tigers. The animals are harmless and motionless because they are often drugged.
Those practices proliferate because there are people who pay for them. If there is no profit to make, animal cruelty can easily disappear. Indeed, the WildAid motto is ‘when the buying stops, the killing can too’. Hence, it is responsibility of all travellers to ensure their trips are no harm to animals, directly or indirectly.
If you want to know more about ethical animal tourism and ethical travels check our responsible travel page. There you can learn a few more tips about acting in a responsible way toward the place you visit, animals and people included.