Many of us have seen a friend on Facebook posing with an exotic animal such as a tiger or straddled across and Indian Elephant at some point during the summer. These tourist attractions are, for the most part, cruel and unnecessary for the animals involved.
With the documentary Blackfish in 2013 came the overwhelming alienation of Seaworld, who stocks plunged and were at an all time low this year, while they were offering J1 students free tickets to their shows in a bid to get customers back in. But the damage was already done, and the public were not taking this animal mistreatment lightly.
Following this came a campaign by animal welfare group Animal Protection, where attention was drawn to TripAdvisors continued endorsement of these attractions. They include activities such as swimming with dolphins and the opportunity to take picture with exotic animals such as tigers in tiger temples. These attractions see animals being physically or mentally abused for the entertainment of tourists, while sometimes leading to a decline in the wild populations they were taken from.
Dolphins kept in captivity do not have enough space or proper enrichment – they need the an ocean for them to sustain proper hunting habits and display natural social behaviour. Tigers will be drugged in order to subdue them so the tourists taking selfies with them won’t be at risk.
For one of the busiest travel websites in operation, it is a strong statement to discourage tourists from availing of these attractions and a step further to eliminating these practices. Some tourists genuinely cannot determine what attractions are humane, and which are destructive, especially when swayed by positive reviews on travel websites. To combat this misconception, TripAdvisor is also developing an aspect of the site to inform and educate the public on animal welfare and the negative impact these attractions have on our wildlife.