Xposure arouses curiosity about the dark side of animal tourism

Sharjah 24: The scale of the suffering endured by animals at wildlife tourist attractions around the world sparked curiosity and deepened empathy for 8-year-old Saif Ibrahim as he watched a documentary on the subject during the sixth edition of Xposure International Photography Festival, currently underway at Expo Center Sharjah.
Aaron Gekoski’s documentary about orangutans at a wildlife sanctuary in Asia has shed light on the miserable conditions of these captive animals and the suffering they had to endure to attract more selfie-loving and addicted tourists to social media.

For young Saif Ibrahim, the short film screened at the “Cinema” at Xposure 2022, opened his eyes to the murky world of the global wildlife tourism industry. Disturbed by the actions of humans depicted in the documentary, little Saif raised relevant questions that concern us all: what does respect for animals mean; why are humans mean to animals; and how can we see animals if we don’t have to keep them in zoos?

The young boy’s questions lead to improved solutions such as responsible tourism practices to foster deeper connections with a wild animal and ensure wildlife encounters are centered on conservation and animal welfare. The poignant questions raised by the young boy also shine a spotlight on the global issues of wildlife trafficking and underline why greater educational awareness is essential to mark the transition to ethical tourism – themes that find every year a resonance in the impactful work of wildlife photographers at Xposure.

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