Can you imagine what it’s like to spend the day at a mountain lake carved by glaciers? To gaze across one of the longest continually inhabited countries in the world? Or to explore the forest where Dr Jane Goodall redefined man?
Travel can open hearts and minds.
The world is becoming more connected than ever, and because of that tourism is an ever-growing industry.
2017 is the United Nations' International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, sustainable tourism is:
… TOURISM THAT TAKES FULL ACCOUNT OF ITS CURRENT AND FUTURE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS, ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF VISITORS, THE INDUSTRY, THE ENVIRONMENT AND HOST COMMUNITIES.
We need to work to bring a greater awareness of how to travel in a way that not only doesn’t harm, but can even benefit animals, people and the environment.
Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand and G Adventures are proud of our partnership. Our collaboration aims to raise awareness of the importance of wildlife-friendly tourism, curating a programme of 20 wildlife trips to form the Jane Goodall Collection by G Adventures.
All trips in the collection are endorsed by Dr. Jane Goodall and with the launch of the new programme G Adventures will be helping raise awareness for the Jane Goodall Institute.
Adventures include river safari in Borneo, walking the highlights of Madagascar, safari life in Kenya and island hopping the Galapagos.
With G Adventures offices in New Zealand JGI NZ will be updating supporters about opportunities to undertake life changing travel adventures.
Discover the entire Jane Goodall Collection at G Adventures
Ethical travel is not about curbing fun but simply being conscious about how your time and money is being spent. Whether the money you spend benefits the local community or if in some way it is causing negative impacts to animals, people or the environment.
Read up on your destination. Research which tourist activities exploit animals, and which support the conservation of wildlife. Beware of any attraction that allows you to ride, touch or have a selfie taken with an animal. Many of these creatures are inadequately cared for and sedated to ensure their compliance.
Reports suggest that at least 550,000 wild animals are suffering in tourist attractions around the world. 110 million people visit cruel wildlife tourist attractions each year, unaware of the animal abuse involved.
TripAdvisor announced it will stop promoting tours that fail to meet animal welfare guidelines, particularly those involving "physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species".
Cruel Animal Attractions
1. Riding elephants
Elephants are taken from their mothers as babies and forced through a training process which involves restraining them in a small cage, or tying them in ropes or chains so they can only move when commanded. Severe pain is often inflicted with metal bull hooks or wooden battens to establish dominance.
2. Taking tiger selfies
Tiger cubs are separated from their mothers at an early age so they can be used as photo props for hours on end. They are handled and hugged by tourists and typically kept chained or in small cages with concrete floors.
3. Walking with lions
Lion cubs are bred and taken from their mothers within a month of birth. Tourists handle the cubs for hours and pose with them for photos. When the cubs grow too big for tourists to pick up and hug some are used for a "walking with lions" experience, where they are trained to walk with tourists, sometimes on leads. These lions face a lifetime in captivity as they cannot be released into the wild.
4. Visiting bear parks
Bears are kept in sterile, overcrowded pits with minimal behavioural enrichment. Bears are mainly solitary in the wild so this overcrowding can also lead to infighting and nasty injuries. The stress can increase the susceptibility of wild animals to diseases caused by bacterial infections. Sometimes bears are also forced to dress as clowns and perform circus tricks such as riding a bike or balancing on a ball.
5. Holding sea turtles
The world's last remaining sea turtle farm that acts as a tourist attraction is in the Cayman Islands. Holding a sea turtle causes it to suffer a great deal of stress which can weaken its immune system and increase its susceptibility to disease. Sea turtles are naturally timid creatures, and when handled by tourists, they often panic and flap their flippers which can cause fractures and detached claws. It has also been known for tourists to accidentally drop struggling sea turtles.
6. Performing dolphins
Dolphins are often chased by high-speed boats before being hauled on board or caught in nets. For many, the stress is too much to take and they die during transportation to their intended destinations. Those kept in dolphinaria spend their entire lives in a space not much bigger than a swimming pool. The pools are often treated with chlorine which can cause painful skin and eye irritations. Pool-bound dolphins often suffer from sunburn.
7. Dancing monkeys
Young macaques are trained aggressively to make them walk, behave and appear more human. They are often dressed up to look like geisha and repeatedly forced to dance and perform tricks for groups of tourists. When they're not performing, the macaques are often kept chained in small barren cages or outside on short chains. As the macaque grows, the chain can become embedded in the skin leading to painful infections and disease.
8. Touring civet coffee plantations
Civets love to eat coffee cherries and Kopi Luwak coffee in Indonesia is made from the beans within the cherries that the civets excrete in pellets. When the pellets are collected from civets in the wild, no cruelty is involved. But in an attempt to produce more civet coffee, farmers have started catching the civets and keeping them in small, crowded barren cages. This unnatural captivity and forced feeding results in injuries, disease and poor nutrition.
9. Charming snakes and kissing cobras
Cobras are commonly used for performing even though they are venomous and their bites can be fatal to humans. The cobras are usually captured from the wild, then they are defanged with metal pliers and their venom ducts are either blocked or removed – often with un-sanitised equipment. This often results in painful infections, and can kill the cobras.
10. Farming crocodiles
People come to see the crocodiles then eat them in on-site restaurants. The animals are usually housed in concrete pits and conditions are often severely overcrowded and unhygienic. Crocodiles are very sensitive to stress, and severely stressful situations can lead to septicaemia. Because of competition for limited space in the pits, and also for food and water, the crocodiles will fight each other, sometimes to the death.
11. Swimming with dolphins
Being confined to cramped tanks and harassed all day long can be extremely traumatic for dolphins, who are social and intelligent animals who naturally swim up to 60 miles a day with their families when they’re in their ocean homes. Many dolphins develop painful conditions, such as stomach ulcers, and most die prematurely from the stressful conditions of captivity.
In a typical bullfight picadors, drive lances into the bull’s back and neck muscles. The picadors then twist and turn the lances to ensure maximum blood loss. Men stab the bull with brightly colored darts and run him in circles. The matador then attempts to kill the bull by severing his spinal cord. In a final barbaric act, the bull’s ears and tail may be cut off as “trophies.” Tourists who attend bullfights out of curiosity often flee after only a few minutes, but by then, the damage has already been done because every ticket purchased keeps these sadistic spectacles alive.
Travel With Care
- Support local businesses
- Avoid activities that include animals handling - Such as elephant riding, posing with tigers, bears, monkeys etc.
- Avoid cuisine that includes endangered species or involves animal cruelty, such as whale meat, shark-fin soup, bush meat or game meat, which is damaging populations.
- Avoid buying souvenirs that include animal products that contribute to mistreatment and declining populations of animals. This includes anything made from alligators, turtles, snakes and big cats; traditional medicines containing rhino horn, bear bile or tiger bone; and carvings and jewellery from ivory, elephant hair or coral.
- Look into 'ethical destinations', developing countries that are promoting human rights, preserving the environment and supporting social welfare - all while creating a lively, community-based tourism industry.
- Avoid clambering all over temples and ruins. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. The temples of Angkor in Cambodia are a case in point: visitors are currently allowed to walk pretty much wherever they want, trampling all over these centuries old ruins. Millions of visitors a year now, all leaving their mark. Same goes in many other locations, too – castles, temples and ruins around the world.
- Avoid giving to child beggars. It's understandably heart-breaking to say no to a child in need, to refuse to give even a few cents to a child who looks like he or she hasn't been fed in days. But travellers who give to child beggars are supporting an industry, encouraging the idea that parents would be better off sending their kids out to guilt tourists into giving them money than to go to school.
- Avoid visiting orphanages. If you visit an orphanage, or even a school, in a developing country and you bring along presents for the kids, you play games with them, you sing a few songs, you pay your money to someone for the experience, and then you disappear forever, you're not doing those children any long-term good. You're pleasing yourself, sure. But you're also creating an industry that encourages parents to put their kids into orphanages for the gifts, and the long-term effect on the children of these brief brushes with visitors is not positive. If you want to give, by all means do – but research the facility thoroughly, and don't feel you have to visit in person.
Concious consumerism can support sustainable tourism, and see postive impacts for animals, people and the environment.