Seeing wildlife can be a memorable part of any travel experience and high on the bucket list, especially since many adventure seekers are nature lovers too. However, tourists and travel companies may be unaware that animals all over the world are still being taken from the wild to provide people with up-close experiences for a thrill and photo. Whether bred in captivity or captured from the wild, animals suffer physically and psychologically from not being able to move and behave naturally and from forced contact with humans.
The worst cruelty is often hidden from view. Many animals like monkeys, tigers, and elephants endure painful training to force them to do unnatural things like give people rides, perform tricks, and allow people to hold or touch them. Other animals like turtles and dolphins live their entire lives in small, barren tanks that are a small fraction of their natural ranges and don’t even remotely resemble their native habitats.
Tourists love animals and, sadly, they contribute to the animals’ suffering unknowingly. A 2017 poll commissioned by World Animal Protection and conducted by Kantar Public of 12,000 tourists across 12 countries found that:
- 83 percent said tour operators should avoid activities causing suffering for wild animals.
- 60 percent said they would not travel with tour operator if it was known they promoted the use of wild animals in entertainment.
- 82 percent would prefer to see animals in the wild.
We know when people are told about the cruelty behind such activities, most decide not to go. Our campaign, “Wildlife, Not Entertainers,” is dedicated to ending the unnecessary suffering caused by cruel wildlife entertainment, and it starts with education.
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