Published on : Monday, August 18, 2014
With wildlife tourism at its peak, the sector has been facing dual consequences. Other than contributing huge revenue for the tourism industry, there is increasing pressure for wildlife tourism operators to behave responsibly.
Our joy at seeing creatures in their natural environment isn’t necessarily shared by the animals themselves.
Tours to the Tiger Temple in Thailand, a place long the subject of reports of mistreatment, has been recently stopped by STA Travel while Intrepid Travel is no longer selling elephant rides as part of its tours.
There is no globally accepted single code of conduct for responsible wildlife tourism which is very unfortunate.
However, The Federation of Tour Operators, which is now part of ABTA, has a series of recommendations. These include not feeding or touching the animals, nor acting in a way that makes them behave unnaturally.
Also, the World Wildlife Fund recommends checking whether the operator can provide a list of trip-specific minimum impact practices, and checking whether they have been verified by a third party such as Sustainable Travel International (STI).