If you are out in an exotic country, the temptation to check out different animal attractions can be pretty tempting, after all, who would not want to snap a picture with a tiger, ride an ostrich, or go swimming with the dolphins? Well, a lot of times these animal attractions are treating the animals poorly and are actually making not effort towards wildlife conservation. The only reason these harmful animal tourist activities are still ongoing is because there are tourists that are willing to pay to see it, and the purpose of this article is to make sure that you are responsible when you are touring anywhere, and ensure that you have an animal-friendly trip instead of one which causes them more harm in the long run.
When you are out on any kind of tour or trip that involves animals, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that you are not harming the animals or contributing to an otherwise unethical practice, and we will list them down below:
- Avoid buying animal souvenirs, especially endangered animal souvenirs, this includes things like a shark tooth, animal skin, fur, leather, animal skulls and so on.
- Do not consume any endangered animal product like shark fin soup, snake wine, turtle meat and so on.
- Do not engage in any activity that allows you to touch, hold or take pictures next to animals. This is not a natural practice for wild animals, and while it can be tempting to snap a picture next to a tiger, you need to remember that most of these animals are heavily abused and trained so that they do not act nervous in front of humans.
- Do not buy exotic animals as pets.
In terms of specific activities surrounding animals, you want to be wary and make sure that you do your research before you are visiting lion cub petting areas in sanctuaries, because these cubs are trained and usually kept away from their mothers on purpose so that the mother continues having more babies. Plus, once these cubs grow up, they are either sold to hunters as a game, kept as circus attractions or chained or killed. The adult lions, tigers and other big cats are usually chained, drugged and declawed in order for them to remain submissive enough for you to stroke them or take a selfie with them.
Similarly, elephant rides might sound appealing, but these elephants are tortured from a young age until they are old enough to be able to support human weight. Plus, the weight of a person on their back is actually not good for them, and it will lead to serious health problems for them as well.
Whale and dolphin safaris, activities and shows also end up mistreating the animals by keeping them in small enclosures, starving them, and this results in the animals developing ulcers and dying early as well.
So, before you go on any trip involving animals, you want to make sure that you do your research beforehand to make sure that the institution is actually working for animal conservation and not exploitation, and the animals are being kept in a safe and natural environment with minimal human interaction.