• intouch Magazine

Be an Animal-Friendly Tourist

Behind every Tiger Selfie is a Lifetime of Suffering

Across the world, and throughout Asia, wild animals are being taken into captivity, torn away from their habitat, to be used in the tourism entertainment industry.

Taking a photograph with an animal, visiting live animal shows or riding wild animals is increasingly on many travellers bucket lists. Unfortunately, the need to have a unique travel experience and get the ‘perfect picture’ is overpowering the animals welfare.

A lot of the time, tourism has a negative impact on animals and wildlife across the world. Companies around the world profit from some of the inherently cruel and abusive types of wildlife tourist attractions on earth.

The wild animals are forced to partake in painful and intensive training to make them perform and interact with people. The animals then live their entire lives in captive conditions that cannot meet their needs. A life in tourist entertainment is no life for a wild animal.

A recent study by World Animal Protection found that 75% of wildlife tourist attractions are having a negative impact on wild animals! So how can you have your bucket list moment and not harm these creatures?

  • Don’t be sucked into fake organisation’s that do more harm than good: Once you understand the suffering involved you won’t want to take part in activities like walking a lion in South Africa or riding elephants in Thailand.

  • Don’t support and take photos with animals: Almost all of the animals have been captured as babies, and once they are too big they will be either put back in the wild where they won’t know how to survive or are killed.

  • Humanised behaviour is a no-go: Avoid operators where the animal has been taught to perform tasks that are humanised like cleaning teeth or painting.

  • There is no excuse for cruelty: Even if an activity is considered to be a part of a cultural heritage, it doesn’t excuse animal cruelty. Avoid cockfighting, bullfighting or any festivals or any occasions that involve animal cruelty.

  • Use trusted and respected tour operators: Again do your research. Make sure you are aware of how your tour company/guide operates. Ask them how they support animal welfare.

  • Let others be aware!

In the end, the best animal encounter is a wild one. View animals in their natural habitat exhibiting natural behaviours and do not initiate contact with them.

Let’s spread the word and together we can educate ourselves and others, to make animal-friendly tourism choices when we are on holiday to reduce demand for animal entrainment. If you see an animal in distress, please speak up and report it!

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