At ‘We Are Travel’ we believe that exploring the world is an amazing opportunity to experience different cultures, learn new skills and witness the amazing beauty and wonder of our planet’s landscape. For many, travelling also gives us an opportunity to get closer to wildlife that we have only seen and heard about through television and literature. This is exactly why ‘animal tourism’ is in the ascendency.
Why wouldn’t you want to witness the intoxicating Bengal tiger seductively prowling through the Bandhavgarh National Park? Or the majestic beauty of a family of elephants bathing playfully in a muddy river?
Sadly, our natural curiosity to get ‘up close and personal’ with wildlife means that a rise in ‘animal tourism’ has had a devastating affect on the very species that we are so excited to meet.
You only have to spend an hour on social media to see selfie pictures with ‘tame’ tigers, tourists riding on the back of elephants or films of performing dolphins in cramped pools.
Sadly, despite growing awareness of these issues it is believed that at least 550,000 wild animals are suffering as a result of irresponsible tourist attractions all around the world (World Animal Protection data). These attractions are visited by over 110 million people every year, people who are often unaware of the significant abuse and appalling conditions the animals are kept in.
Not only are these activities causing distress to the animals, they often present a significant danger to the thousands of visitors who head there. As recently as 2016 we heard the tragic story of a tourist been thrown from the back of a distressed elephant on Koh Samui.
In a report published by the World Animal Protection, the top 10 ‘cruelest’ animal attractions have been revealed. Whilst a lot of animal welfare issues are easy to spot, there are many more that well-meaning tourists are blissfully unaware of.
Only by stopping the demand for these kinds of attractions, can we hope to have a major impact on the industry. We advise all travelers to research your destination before you travel. Learn all about the local wildlife, animal tourism and potential issues you may encounter. And if you come across an ‘attraction’ where you are unsure of the animals welfare … vote with your feet!
We Are Travel actively discourage our passengers from participating in any activities that exploit either wild or domestic animals. To understand more about our stance and how to support animal welfare please take a look at our Animal Welfare Statement.