Tourism today is a billion-dollar business, which is causing many Environmental and Cultural problems all over the world. Not only nature but also animals are suffering because of this, many wildlife is being captured to earn money of tourists.
We hope that by reading this post you will be more aware, about what is going on behind the scenes of the companies who try to provide you the ‘’perfect’’ travel moment.
Did you know that baby Elephants undergo a harsh and painful training before they are used for riding activities in Tourism? The most common way of controlling the Elephants is with the use of Bullhooks. The bullhook is traditionally used in sensitive areas of the body. For example, a bullhook may be used behind the ears where the skin is paper thin, around the eyes where the skin is also very thin, and on the feet, trunk and around the mouth which are highly enervated. These areas are all extremely sensitive to the touch. The use of the bullhook psychologically and emotionally harms elephants.
Fortunately, there are good things happening and the way elephants are being treated is changing. Especially within the tourism industry. More and more people are choosing to opt out the elephant's experiences that harm these gentle giants. Elephant sanctuaries and conservation areas are becoming increasingly popular. Be aware that a real sanctuary will never let you ride an elephant.
Visit elephant sanctuaries that put premium on the elephants’ conservation. Avoid shelters which provide feeding and direct contact activities with animals.
Avoid elephant sites that put a focus on activities like close-range photo’s, animal feeding and riding.
Go on tours that visit marine wildlife in their natural environment and respect safe boundaries.
Skip swimming with captive dolphins and other marine creatures, which were more often captured then rescued.
Buying a small animal-product as a souvenir may seem harmless but it promotes a much bigger problem. The illegal animal trade is one of the most profitable in the world and it threatens the survival of many of our beloved species. According to WWF, there could be as few as 3,200 tigers left in the world and up to three rhinos are poached per day. By avoiding buying animal products, you’re cutting down the demand for poaching!
Purchase souvenirs that support local artisans and traditional craftsmanship
Don’t invest in souvenirs that use bear bile, ivory, or rely on exploitations of animals to produce.
Buy locally produced, environmentally sustainable souvenirs that are free from animal products. It will support local communities and contributes to the conservation of animals and their natural habitats.
Say no to local dishes which are preceded by extreme animal cruelty, such as shark fin soup, bush meat, frog legs, foie gras or tiger wine.p
Many animals are used as a close-contact attraction, monkeys which sit on your shoulders, tiger cubs or sea turtles which can be held. These animals are often stolen from the wild and spend most of their lives drugged and in a cage.
Want to see animals happy and free in their natural habitat? Explore the jungle independently or go on an eco-tour or safari. In this way, you can take photos of animals in their natural habitat, but always do this from a safe and respectful distance.
Avoid attractions that use coercion to create close-contact photo opportunities with wild animals.
Visit a nature conservation project or volunteer at one. By planting trees, for example, you help to contribute to the conservation of elephant and orangutan habitats.
Pay for fights between animals, such as bullfights, cockfights and crocodile wrestling. Paying for these cruel performances continues a lifetime of abuse and injury.
Although Wildlife and tourism can benefit each other hugely, it is always good to stay cautious! Complain when something does not feel right! If you see animal cruelty, please report this to the (local) authorities or a local animal welfare organization.
Be conscientious, support the national parks, ask questions and listen to the experts. Hopefully, many of these species and landscapes will be around for years to come. The animals will be thankful!