Animal-related tourism is big business. Many people are willing to pay money to take selfies with sloths, ride elephants, pet tigers, and walk with lions. Unfortunately, some of these ventures are unethical, requiring animals to live in abusive conditions or contributing to biodiversity loss.
On December 4 of last year, Patricia Maunder released an article on Traveller.com that lists seven animal-related tourist experiences that no one should ever do. These experiences have a high probability of being unethical, and paying for them drives the mistreatment of the animals involved. These seven experiences are:
- Elephant experiences, like riding and bathing elephants.
- Interacting with apex predators, such as cub petting and walking with lions.
- Holding wild animals, often for the purpose of taking selfies.
- Wild animal shows, AKA circuses that feature wild animals.
- Swimming with captive dolphins.
- Buying souvenirs that are made from wild animal parts.
- Eating bushmeat, which is meat from wild animals.
In her article, Maunder goes into considerable detail about the seven experiences listed above. She explains in which countries and continents they are most problematic, why they are often bad for animals, and how to distinguish ethical wildlife-related experiences from unethical ones.
All-in-all, Maunder’s story is a great read: it is full of useful information, it is well-written, and it will help travelers to make good decisions about where to spend their money. Please, click the link below to read the original article. While you are at it, why not share Maunder’s piece with any travelers you might know?