Passionate about wildlife and want to factor some unforgettable experiences into your travels? We’d recommend doing some in-depth research to ensure you’re enjoying these experiences the right way and taking into account local animal welfare. For example, sloth cuddles and elephant walks may not be the most ethical way to experience this beautiful creatures.
From experiences to souvenirs, here are three ways you can prioritise animal welfare and avoid unethical activities which could contribute to animal mistreatment.
Be mindful where you shop
Believe it or not, ivory trinkets, crocodile leather bags and authentic fur coats are still harvested from wild animals around the world. And purchasing endangered animal products may not be as difficult as you think. Elephants are poached for illegal ivory trading, endangered sea turtles are caught and killed for their shells – the list goes on! Refusing to buy goods that have contributed to the harm of animals will greatly help protect wildlife in the long run.
We recommend buying locally made items and crafts as often as possible and paying a fair price – this will also help your tourism have a positive effect on local communities.
Never ride animals
In countries like Cambodia and Thailand, elephant riding is still a popular activity but also very cruel. In some cases, wild baby elephants are captured and beaten to force them into submission; this is known as Phajaan, or ‘the crush’. Luckily, there are special sanctuaries which save and care for elephants exploited by this harsh tourism trade; you can even visit one with Contiki. To protect these beautiful animals, say no to wild animal rides.
Avoid live animal entertainment
From travelling animal circuses to monkey street performances, wild animals are persistently used as entertainment around the world to attract both tourists and money. Some argue that certain practices, such as Spanish-style bullfighting, are culturally significant. For the benefit of wildlife everywhere, avoid all forms of live animal entertainment.
Love travel and passionate about protecting the world’s wildlife? Check out our Contiki Cares experiences, which prioritise ethical treatment of animals and only enjoying them in their natural habitats.