The surprising advantages of wildlife tourism


Animal tourism is a major activity, representing 20 to 40% of the net worth of the entire tourism industry. However, this type of tourism can also have a negative impact on animal populations and their habitats. As people flock to take selfies with sedated tigers or ride abused elephants, they are fueling the cycle of unsustainable ecotourism. Their actions further fund animal cruelty, captivity and destruction.

By Emily Folk

Yet many other wildlife tourist attractions actually work to protect animals and their habitats. By allowing tourists to come and experience these animals in their natural environment, these organizations are improving wildlife tourism – and the future of animals everywhere.

Educate tourists

More … than 31,000 species are threatened with extinction and, every day, between 2 and 20 species cease to exist. However, many tourists – and people in general – are unaware of this rapid decline in biodiversity. This factor is mainly due to the fact that many of these species are found halfway around the world. In order for people to know and care about these endangered animals, they need to see and experience them and their homes. This is where ecotourism comes in.

By traveling and visiting the natural habitats of animals, tourists can increase their awareness of the importance of conservation and learn how they can make a difference. Plus, they can go home and share their new knowledge and passion with others.


Many people find out about eco-tourism attractions through social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. Photos of friends posing with elephants and tigers make them want to go to these places and do the same. However, these hands-on encounters are often not animal-friendly. Moreover, they only exacerbate the problem of cruelty to wild animals and captivity. As more and more people travel in search of photographic opportunities, they are knowingly and unknowingly funding unsustainable wildlife tourism.

However, if more people travel and participate in healthy, animal-friendly ecotourism, these new photos will replace those with unsustainable attractions. This concept promotes genuine public awareness by showing a well-balanced perspective of the issues surrounding wildlife and how people play a crucial role in their preservation.

Fund conservation and conservation efforts

Animal tourism also encourages the development of poor communities by providing stable income and jobs to local economies. In Kenya, the Northern Rangelands Trust employs over 1,000 Kenyans, providing them with security, health care and education. In addition, the Trust gives them skills that they can transfer to other areas of employment if they wish. Thus, animal tourism offers many families a bright future that they would not have had otherwise.

In addition to benefiting the people and the local economy, sustainable wildlife tourism also funds conservation efforts. At the Northern Rangelands Trust, almost 30% of their income comes from tourism. This funding helps them provide an elephant sanctuary, protect endangered species, monitor wildlife and stimulate local animal populations. This money also helps them train and nurture leaders within the community who will work in the conservation of local wildlife for many years to come.

Promotes local animal rescue efforts

animal tourism

(ilegalni / Pixabay)

While many people may see photos of illegal poaching and become enraged, there is little they can do to solve the problem thousands of miles away, other than to share their feelings with others. Those closest to the problem, such as the people of Kenya, however, can stop illegal activities and save wildlife. And that’s exactly what conservatories like the Northern Rangelands Trust do.

Stopping poaching and the illegal wildlife trade requires more than law enforcement efforts. Kenya must rally the private sector to join the fight. Therefore, the Trust uses funds from tourism to educate people about poaching and its impact on the local community – as there can be no wildlife tourism or related jobs without animals. This initiative encouraged the transport, travel and tourism sectors to work undercover to report illegal activity. There has already been a 50% decrease in elephant poaching in Kenya.

Respects ecological standards

If you choose a conservation-oriented wildlife tour, it will likely be eco-friendly for both animals and the environment. Your trip may include participation in a walking tour instead of a car ride or by taking care to observe plants, trees and other flora while looking for gorillas or other wildlife. Eco-friendly trips like these emphasize the importance of preserving animal homes and fostering a deep respect for natural habitats and ecosystems.

Some travel agencies, such as Baobab Travel, go even further by offering fair tourism packages. By purchasing any of these packages, tourists can rest assured that their the money benefits the local population, the environment and businesses in South Africa. Additionally, travelers can book vacations with organizations that work closely with local communities, thereby supporting the economy.

Protect wildlife tourism with your dollars

Hundreds of thousands of unsustainable wildlife tourist attractions exist across the world. These establishments engage in animal cruelty, illegal wildlife trade and many other heinous activities. Every time you visit one of these places to take a good photo or touch a wild animal, you are funding this vicious cycle. However, by traveling and participating in tourist attractions that actively work to protect and care for animals and their habitats, you can be part of the solution.

If enough people decide that they no longer want to pay for an unsustainable experience, these harmful tours and attractions will cease to exist. And instead, people will take part in eco tours and conservation activities, protecting wildlife and its precious habitats.

(Crossed with conservation folk)

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