The 10 most cruel types of wildlife tourism to cross off your list


From elephant rides to selfies with monkeys, we’ve all seen the social media posts of friends on vacation visiting animal attractions.

But for some of us, after this first stroke of astonishment (“she cuddles a tiger!”), Followed by points of jealousy (“could I ever do that?”), Another emotion sometimes creeps in: disgust.

And now, a new study from the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), commissioned by World Animal Protection, seeks to highlight the cruelest examples of wildlife tourism.

According to the organization, three out of four attractions involving animals involve some type of abuse or a conservation issue. But how many of the 110 million people who visit them each year realize this?

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Wild animals belong to nature and when they go on vacation we urge tourists to think carefully about the activities they choose to ensure that their trip does not favor not the cruel exploitation of animals.

He added: “Wild animals are unpredictable and the forced interaction with tourists usually involves stress and suffering for the animal, as well as the risk of injury or even death for humans, as we have unfortunately seen. seen in thailand this week. The best way to have an unforgettable wildlife experience is not to see a caged animal or have to perform at a show, but to choose a responsible wildlife viewing trip. ‘

Below, we list the 10 cruelest examples of wildlife tourism, according to the study.

1 Riding elephants

Last week, an elephant riding humans stomped on a British tourist to death. The animal’s master allegedly tried to control it with a harpooned hook. The Thai safari camp in question has since been accused of cruelty. It is certainly a scary industry: to force elephants to submit to rides, they are taken from their mothers when they are babies and forced to undergo a horrific training process known as ‘crushing’.


2 Take tiger selfies

Come on: tigers weren’t made to make this land your photo prop. The creatures are often kept in filthy enclosures after being illegally poached and trafficked. They are handled and hugged by tourists and usually kept chained or in small cages with concrete floors.


3 Visiting bear parks

Bears are kept in sterile, sterile “pits” with minimal or no behavioral enrichment. These pits are very overcrowded. Bears are predominantly solitary in the wild, so this crowding can also lead to nasty infighting and injury.


4 walking with the lions

Lions are usually bred and removed from their mothers within a month of birth. According to Kate Nustedt, Wildlife Director at World Animal Protection: “We must stop the demand for elephant rides and shows, cuddles and selfies with tigers and lions by exposing the suffering behind the wildlife attractions. . “


5 keep sea turtles

The last sea turtle farm in the world that acts as a tourist attraction is in the Cayman Islands. Here, tourists can hold turtles and even eat them while visiting.


6 successful dolphins

Dolphins are often chased by high-speed boats before being hauled aboard or caught in nets. For many, the stress is too much to bear and they die in transit to their intended destinations.


7 dancing monkeys

Young macaques are trained aggressively and painfully to make them walk, behave and appear more human. They are often dressed to look like geishas and repeatedly forced to dance and perform tricks for groups of tourists.


8 civet coffee plantations on tour

A single cup of civet or Kopi Luwak coffee makes a lot of money. Civets love to eat coffee cherries, and Kopi Luwak coffee is made from the beans of the cherries that civets excrete in granular form. In an effort to produce more civet coffee, farmers began to catch civets and keep them in small, sterile, overcrowded cages. Caged civets are encouraged to binge on an unbalanced diet of coffee cherries. This unnatural captivity and forced feeding leads to injury, disease, stress and self-harm.


9 charming snakes and kissing cobras

Performing cobras are typically captured from the wild, then they are unhooked with metal tweezers and their venom conduits are either blocked or removed – often with uninfected equipment. This often leads to painful infections and can kill cobras.


10 Crocodile farming

Crocodile breeding involves large numbers of crocodiles being kept on farms and bred intensively – mainly to supply the fashion industry with their skins, but also their meat. These farms are also now a more common wildlife tourism experience. People come to see the crocodiles and then eat them in the restaurants on site. Conditions on farms are often appalling.

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