The UN World Tourism Organization estimates 7% of world-wide tourism is wildlife-related. Most tourists genuinely want to connect with nature, but 80% do not recognize or respond to negative welfare impacts. We wanted to give you some food for thought to help you consciously plan the excursions on your next adventure.
If you can hug it, ride it, have a selfie with it or watch it do tricks, then the chances are the wild animal is suffering.
Look at the three-toed sloth. The snugly-looking creature hangs on to a human as if it were asking to be hugged. The stark reality is that this delicate animal requires more than 20 hours of sleep a day and becomes stressed when over handled. Unfortunately, a sign of stress for them is an arm wave, mistaken many times for an endearing gesture. Sloths used as tourist attractions draw tourism, thus keeping them awake for too long. Many die in captivity within a few months.
What can you do?
Do your research. By doing your research & avoiding tourist attractions where animals are suffering, you make a direct impact toward ethical-animal watching. Look for signs of abu
sive wildlife tourism:
- Inadequate food, shelter, & water
- A lethargic animal typically means it's been drugged or sedated
- Animal distress, agitation, or injury
- Limited movements such as tight ropes or chains
- Teeth that have been pulled or filed so they don't bite
- Prolonged exposure to photography & flashes