The travel and tourism industry is one of the largest industries in the world. Not surprising, as the desire for an unforgettable and unique adventure with enriching personal experiences becomes more and more important for many people worldwide. About 7% of this industry relates to wildlife tourism, which is growing annually and which is especially booming in Africa, South America, Asia and Australia.
Written by Lea
Wildlife tourism is the observation and/or interaction with the local flora and fauna in various settings (from captive to in the wild). This includes for example safaris, wildlife photography, and hunting among others. Without any doubt, there are many positive effects of wildlife tourism on wildlife and nature conservation as well as on the local economy. Nonetheless, there are also a lot of wildlife activities which are far away from good. And even though most people do not want to harm any living being they are often unknowingly doing exactly that while conducting wildlife tourism activities.
The following are five of the cruellest types of wildlife attractions, those that every tourist should avoid.
In the lion tourism industry cubs are often bred and taken from their mothers within a month after birth. Tourists then get the chance to handle and feed the cubs. Usually, such organisation offering lion attractions tell tourists that they rescued those cubs as their mothers were killed by poachers. They also tell tourists that they will reintroduce the cubs back into the wild as soon as they are big enough. But this is NOT true! As soon as the cubs are considered too big for tourists to handle, they start offering “lion walks”. The lions are then trained to “safely” walk with tourists. In the end, when the lions are too dangerous to interact with tourists, and too tame to be released back to the wild, they are sold to hunting facilities.
Similar to lion tourism, tiger cubs are separated from their mothers soon after birth and are offered to tourists. Tourists are allowed to cuddle and take selfies with those cubs. In order to prevent that the tiger cubs injure the tourists, they remove the claws and canines. Furthermore, those cubs are often kept in small cages with concrete floors. Like with lion tourism, as soon as the cubs are too big, they get killed or sold for other uses.
Dolphin & Whale Performances
Marine parks can be found all around the world and are a huge tourist attraction. What many people do not know is the cruelty that the dolphins and whales have to suffer. Many dolphins and whales in marine parks were taken from the wild by chasing them with speed-boats into nets. Thanks to the cruel and stressful procedure many of those animals already die during transportation to their intended destinations. Those that make it to the marine park face a lifetime of swimming in static patterns, loneliness, boredom and stress in tiny unnatural tanks.
Elephant babies are taken from their mothers at a very young age. They are then beaten, hit and poked with sharp items, to perform the most unnatural behaviours such as accepting people riding on their back or leaning down on their forelegs. Furthermore, they are prevented from forming natural social relationships with each other and they are typically kept on chains or in tiny enclosures.
Many primate species (especially macaques) are used for street entertainment. Such primates are trained at a very young age to behave and appear more “human”. This includes walking on two legs, dressing up, dancing and performing tricks. When not performing, they are kept solitary in small cages or on chains. As the monkey grows the chain can grow into its skin which leads to painful infections and diseases.
Other cruel wildlife attractions
The five wildlife attractions above are just examples for the many cruel attractions out there. The following wildlife attractions are not less cruel or important:
- Snake charming & kissing cobras
- Circuses with animals
- Holding sea turtles
- Visiting bear parks
- Touring civet coffee plantations
- Roadside zoos & aquariums
- Orangutan selfies
- Tiger shows
By raising awareness and boycotting places that offer cruel wildlife activities we are making an impact in the animal entertainment industry!
By the way, the best alternative for all cruel wildlife attractions is to visit places like national parks. There you have the chance to observe and enjoy wildlife in their natural habitat.