The Dark Truth Behind Wildlife Tourism

A Few General Tips to Live By:

  • Always do your research and read reviews before booking with any company offering a wildlife experience.
  • If something seems unnatural, it is. Animals should be either eating, drinking, playing, sleeping, or mating. Anything other than that is a red flag.
  • Ignore “100% Guarantees,” as nothing wild can ever be a guarantee and any conservationist or ethical provider will tell you this. If something is guaranteed then it is likely a staged event with captive animals.
  • Consider a trip based around a wildlife conservation holiday. Biosphere Expeditions offers trips like these around the world.
  • It’s estimated that 110 million people visit cruel animal attractions a year. If your goal is a selfie, reconsider your goals. Enjoy the wildlife for the experience, not the photo.
  • Animal attractions around the world label themselves as “sanctuaries,” but don’t be duped by the marketing word. Make sure that these are reputable companies practising sustainable tourism.
  • Responsible zoos and aquariums exist and can still be a great place to see animals for the first time – especially for children. How else are young people supposed to care for and respect animals if they have never been introduced to them? Many zoos around the world fund and facilitate countless initiatives, including breeding and reintroduction programs, and have been linked to saving and protecting critical species. That being said there are still many “bad zoos” around the world where animals are kept in terrible conditions and exists only for profit. Do your research about every zoo you are considering visiting. My personal favourites are the Bronx Zoo and the Australia Zoo.

Credit: Natasha for The World Pursuit, 15 January 2019.

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