Encountering animals in the wild creates incredibly special experiences and unforgettable memories. Yet, not all animal encounters are cruelty free ones, with around 110 million people every year visiting a cruel wildlife attraction.
When done properly and in a respectful manner, animal tourism can help advocate protection for wild animals, and fund conservation projects. Yet, we realise that navigating the world of animal friendly travel can be hard and confusing.
World Animal Protection and World Expeditions have partnered for wild animals to be kept in the wild, safe from unethical tourism.
In conjunction with World Animal Protection we’ve developed our Animal Welfare in Tourism Code of Conduct. This code of conduct outlines the standards we expect in regards to animal welfare on our itineraries. It informs our stakeholders (our local partners, employees and travellers) about our expectations in regards to the treatment of animals on all World Expeditions trips.
Here are 10 simple steps you can take to become an animal friendly traveller:
The best animal encounter is a wild one.
Try to view animals in their natural habitat exhibiting natural behaviours and don’t initiate contact with them.
Say “no” to elephant rides.
Don’t ride on the back of an elephant. To ‘train’ an elephant to accept riders, they are taken from their mothers at an early age and physically and psychologically abused. See our Elephant Welfare Policy.
Avoid visiting aquariums with large mammals.
Avoid aquariums or marine parks where large mammals like dolphins or whales are kept in captivity. These environments are very unnatural and cause stress to these intelligent and far-ranging animals.
Be careful when shopping for souvenirs.
Don’t purchase souvenirs made from wild animals, such as fur, ivory, shells, seahorses, teeth, rhino horn and turtle shell.
Avoid participation in lion petting or wild animal “selfies”.
Never participate in lion cub petting and lion walking experiences, many of them breed the lions for the ‘Canned Lion Hunting’ industry, to be shot in captivity.
Don’t attend festivals or attractions that subject animals to cruelty for entertainment.
These include animal circuses, dancing bears, dog or cockerel fights, running of the bulls and any festival that causes suffering to animals.
Feeding stray animals is not always helping.
Don’t feed stray or community owned dogs and cats, because it could take them away from their longer-term food source.
Match your size to that of the animal.
Before riding on the back of a horse, mule or donkey match your size to that of the animal and ensure that your weight is evenly balanced when riding.
Not all animal shelters are doing the right thing.
Only visit and support animal sanctuaries and shelters involving wild animals in captivity if the objectives of the organization are in the animals’ best interests (e.g. re-homing, rehabilitation or release into the wild).
If you see an animal in distress please tell your World Expeditions guide. Make a note of the date, time and location as well as the type and number of animals involved. Take photos and/or videos as proof. If you see an animal that is well looked after offer praise to the owner and tell him/her why you have chosen to give them your business.
Animal Friendly Travel
So, we’ve taken the guess work out of wildlife travel experiences, and joined forces to bring you four carefully crafted itineraries that offer some of the world’s best wildlife viewing opportunities.
If animal encounters are high on your list for your next adventure and you want to make sure your experiences aren’t harmful, then these adventures are perfect for you – all come with the stamp of approval from World Animal Protection!
To top it off, World Expeditions is donating a percentage of each trip to World Animal Protection to support their work to save animals. See the trips.
Which Wild Animal Encounter appeals to you?